Electronic logging systems are necessary for companies to be compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. However, you can choose ELDs that have additional features and functionality. These features can help you maximize the profitability of your fleet while improving driver performance and safety. Let’s learn how to pick the right electronic logging device for your fleet.
Determine which Value-Added Features Are Invaluable to Your Drivers
Truck-specific navigation systems do far more than the average route planning system, such as help truckers avoid one-way streets and low bridges. This reduces unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicle and reduces the risk of accidents. The ability to track down trucks that have gone missing or communicate with drivers that are on duty but not driving may be invaluable if you’re concerned about their health or safety.
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Some ELD providers offer jurisdictional mileage reporting. This allows you to create trip reports to simplify the International Fuel Tax Agreement or IFTA reporting. One or two vendors even have reported you can just print and send in. Now you can dramatically reduce the risk of an audit from authorities, and you have the necessary reports to take the pain out of audits if they occur. This is because the tools let you import fuel purchase information, track state line crossings, and generate the necessary state forms for the fuel tax almost effortlessly. Conversely, this issue matters less if your drivers rarely cross state lines.
Some fleet managers may not care about having the ability to offer driving times or miles to drivers via the ELD system. However, there are companies that would like to be able to offer drivers the ability to accept unassigned driving times in addition to knowing when people are on-duty but not driving, or off-duty.
Determine If It Is Worth It to Have Additional Data Collected
You must install electronic logging devices that track when and how far drivers take their rigs. However, fleet managers may want to track how drivers handle their vehicles. This can have a significant impact on fuel economy.
For example, the most efficient truck drivers get almost a third better MPG as the least efficient. The causes range from excessive idling to constant acceleration and deceleration. Idling alone wastes a gallon of fuel per hour. You might want to track how fast people drive, too. How often are people driving over 60 miles per hour? That costs an estimated 0.5 MPG for every five miles over 55 miles per hour.
However, you may want to know when they’re driving over the speed limit, as well. Then you can either punish those who drive over the speed limit before they get a ticket or provide refresher training to your drivers. Tracking driving habits could easily result in a ten percent increase in fuel economy, and that’s aside from reduced wear and tear on vehicles and a lower risk of accidents.
Verify that the ELD Vendor Offers Short and Long Term Support
Will the ELD system be supported not only now but into the future? Do they keep the software up to date as computer operating systems and integrated technologies change? Would you able to get help if the electronic logging system experiences problems? Will the ELD system be kept up to date with any changes in regulations regarding logging? Another question is training and end-user support. You have to roll out the electronic logging systems to all of your drivers in your fleet. Will they provide training resources for your drivers, administration, and fleet staff?
Electronic logging systems are legally mandated for nearly every trucking company today. However, you should find an ELD provider that offers the features and services you need to get the most out of these tools.