There are two primary distinctions when it comes to selecting your Electronic Logging Device (ELD) solution: traditional On Board Computers; and Mobile On Board Computers.
Traditional On Board Computers (OBCs)
These are the solutions which have traditionally been installed on a truck or bus’s dashboard. There will be a basic display providing the driver with hours of service (HOS) information such as their hours driven, hours recorded, and hours remaining. This data is then transmitted to the control center, or dispatch, so that the HOS data can be assessed, monitored, and acted upon.
A basic OBC will stop there. However, OBCs are often used as a Fleet Management Solution which may incorporate aspects such as driver behavior and fleet management reporting, allowing for valuable ROI. Traditional OBCs transfer the data wirelessly using GPS and satellite technology, and thus provide near real-time information. They are the most common system we see in the US.
Mobile On Board Computers
Mobile OBCs work in much the same way as traditional OBCs with one crucial difference: they utilize smart technology and mobile data communications. This significantly reduces the cost of using OBCs and puts them in to the reach of much smaller fleets.
These systems are typically easier to install as they don’t require hard-wiring, again minimizing the set-up costs. Furthermore, they can have extended functionality, as they aren’t restricted to one dashboard. They can be used across multiple vehicles, and for important additional functionality such as Proof of Delivery signing and recording, and communications outside of the cab confines.
The more economical ELD options will still bring additional benefits for those with less complicated needs, such as tracking hours and routes.
However, the ELDs which represent the best ROI will have certain key features which go beyond basic GPS tracking.
Other benefits of ELD solutions include driver behavior monitoring (such as recording vehicle idling to reduce fuel usage) and other fuel reducing functions; routing and dispatching functionality; simplification of International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) reporting; and driver communications.
The key features you want to look for are:
On Board Navigation
Fuel is one of a fleet-based business’s main overheads. With long-haul trucks traveling vast distances, it is essential to optimize routes in order to minimize fuel expenditure. This is not just about identifying the shortest routes, but also planning routes which avoid fuel-thirsty driving such as traffic which involves excessive idling and stop-start behavior.
Driver Behavior Management
The best ELDs allow you to monitor driver performance, optimizing fuel consumption, increasing safety, and reducing your carbon footprint. Just look at the data: aggressive driving reduces fuel efficiency by 10-40%; idling for more than one-minute wastes fuel in cost terms and for every 5 mph over 50 mph you pay an additional $0.17 per gallon on gas. By monitoring driver behavior and feeding that information back to the driver, and using it to target training, you can save money. Excellent ELDs can assess driver behavior in terms of speeding, harsh braking, idling, and more.
International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Reporting
Automating the IFTA reporting process will reduce human error as well as saving time and resources. Fleet-based businesses frequently find their obligations under the IFTA to be an administrative nightmare. ELDs can vastly reduce this burden, as well as minimize the threat of IFTA auditing and subsequent fines.
The above are what we consider to be the basics of a good ELD, even though they go beyond the legal necessities.
All will reduce inefficiencies and increase productivity, as well as ensure compliance.
Getting the Best ELD for Your Business
Knowing what to look for, and what is required of you, will be important as you take steps to become compliant with ELD regulations.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We are here to help you choose the
best system for your business in terms of productivity, efficiency, and compliance with the law.
About Handsfree Group
Here at the Handsfree Group we have helped transport, logistics, and fleet service clients improve the way their employees drive, communicate, and promote safety, while significantly reducing their vehicle running costs.
Given this experience we know, precisely, how to tailor vehicle communication, safety, and security solutions on a case-by-case basis.