Contrary to the belief of some truckers’, ELDs can do more than just help a company become ELD compliant. ELDs can be of significant help when it comes to improving fleet management, making drivers’ lives a lot less complicated, and nurturing a trucking company’s overall growth.
Today, we’re going to talk about the nitty-gritty of ELD’s benefits. Before that, however, let’s talk about what ELDs are first.
What exactly is an ELD?
ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) are electronic gadgets certified by the Department of Transportation. They are plugged into the engine of a commercial truck so the device can record drivers’ driving time automatically. It is meant to replace paper logbooks that drivers are using to track their time, and to make sure that they remain compliant with HOS regulations.
ELDs are capable of recording several other crucial data about the truck and drivers’ performances (e.g. fuel consumption, idle time, maintenance needs, etc.).
Benefits for truck drivers:
Drivers can breeze through roadside inspections.
Roadside inspections will only take minutes when truck drivers have an ELD installed in their vehicles. Because inspectors can view driving reports that they need clearly and accurately just by looking at the data in the logbook app, they won’t have to hold drivers for long.
Drivers can focus more.
Without ELDs installed, drivers have to contend with several distractions while they are driving. For one thing, they would need to spend a lot of time filling out paper logs. If that isn’t enough, they’d also get several calls from dispatchers for updates on their locations and their estimated time of arrival.
With ELD devices installed, however, truck drivers won’t have to fill out paper logs since their driving time is tracked automatically by ELDs. Dispatchers are also able to see a truck’s location in real-time through their web dashboard, they won’t have to keep on calling drivers for their location and updates.
Drivers can avoid violations.
One of the most important functionalities of an ELD is its ability to track drivers’ driving time. This keeps them from violating any HOS regulations since the ELD device will send them an alert when they’re nearing a violation.
Since ELDs can also help truck drivers with their vehicle maintenance, drivers can avoid further unnecessary violations.
Drivers can get immediate help.
When drivers need help, fleet managers can send them assistance without having to worry about the driver’s exact location — they can see their exact location in their fleet management dashboard.
Drivers are more likely to avoid accidents.
Since ELDs are meant to help drivers avoid HOS violations, it goes without saying that drivers are kept from driving while drowsy because they are following the HOS rules. Because they aren’t driving while fatigued, they’ll experience fewer road accidents.
Another thing that ELDs can do is it can notify truck drivers for fault codes in their vehicles in real-time. Because drivers are made aware of the parts of their vehicle that need maintenance, they can have it fixed before driving. All of this result in a safer driving experience.
Drivers can carve out better routes.
Through ELD’s GPS functionality, it can tell drivers which routes are the most ideal to follow to get to their destination in the quickest possible time.
ELDs can show the drivers if there is heavy traffic on a specific road or if there are ongoing road constructions. Drivers can then avoid these problematic roads so they can carve out a route that will take them to their destinations a lot faster.
Drivers can improve their driving skill.
Since ELDs are connected directly to a truck’s engine, it can monitor a driver’s driving habits. It can detect sharp turns, sudden stops, or extreme accelerations. These are details that the fleet managers can see in their web dashboard. Once they uncover drivers’ bad driving habits, they can then give proper feedbacks. This can lead to drivers improving their driving skills.
Drivers will have better work relationships with their fleet managers.
Because fleet managers won’t have to keep on hassling drivers for updates and additional phone calls while the driver is focused on driving, there is going to be less friction between both groups.
Benefits for Fleet Managers
Fleet managers will have a better overview of the fleet’s status
ELDs installed in all trucks are connected to the web dashboard that fleet managers have access to. Through the web dashboard, fleet managers can tell which trucks are running (or are idle), the location of each truck, the status of each driver, the fuel consumption of the trucks, etc. This gives them a better overview of the entire fleet’s status.
Because of the comprehensive data that fleet managers can see in their web dashboard, they can make the best decisions concerning the fleet.
The trucking company can decrease their fuel expenditures.
Fleet managers can see through their web dashboard if trucks had instances of excessive speeding and idle times. Because these cases can contribute to unnecessary fuel consumption, fleet managers can slash their fuel costs if they can prevent these instances from happening.
By showing truck drivers these data, drivers can make the needed changes that would keep them from making the same mistakes.
Improved communication between fleet managers and drivers.
ELDs allow fleet managers to send individual drivers a direct message via the ELD logbook app. In addition to that, fleet managers can also broadcast messages to several drivers all at once. This makes communication between both drivers and dispatchers a lot easier.
Without ELDs, can you imagine how tedious it would be for fleet managers to contact several truck drivers just to deliver the same message?
While sending a text blast might be an option, they do not have a confirmation that the driver has, in fact, read their text messages unless drivers reply to them. Not only is this tedious for drivers, but it can also end up very time-consuming for fleet managers since they would have to send a follow-up message to drivers who won’t reply to confirm.
The ELD logbook apps are quite different, however. As soon as a message is sent, they’d be able to see via the logbook app if the message has been delivered and seen by drivers. It is very similar to what you experience on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
However, keep in mind that not every ELD provider will have such a smart and robust messaging feature.
Effortless IFTA reporting
Instead of the truckers doing manual calculations for their IFTA reporting, the whole process can be automated through ELDs. This means the administrative effort and cost of preparing the IFTA reports becomes a lot less burdensome for companies.
Lesser truck downtimes
Through ELDs monitoring vehicles for fault codes, drivers and fleet managers can stay on top of their maintenance work and prevent serious vehicle breakdowns from occurring.
Short learning curve
Most ELDs have onboard training materials that would help drivers understand how the device works without having to do several classroom-type pieces of training. That means the learning curve for using ELD devices and harnessing their benefits become a lot easier, which can also translate to improved productivity for both drivers and fleet managers.
Benefits for Trucking Companies
Better CSA scores
Considering how drivers can avoid HOS violations, the fees/violations that come along with poor and inaccurate reporting, and the violations for driving a truck that has serious maintenance issues, trucking companies would inevitably get better CSA scores.
When trucking companies are in front of their prospective clients, it becomes relatively easier for them to sell their services when they have good CSA scores.
Here’s the thing, most shippers are now looking into the carrier’s CSA score before they decide whether or not they will work with them. The better the carrier’s score is, the higher its chances are of getting considered by their prospective customers.
The chain of thought that shippers are using is this: When a trucking company has a good CSA score, it means they are applying good business practice (because they aren’t getting that many violations and they have minimal road accidents).
In short, that trucking company is professional and reliable to work with.
Hiring becomes easier
Considering how some trucking companies spend thousands of dollars just to find and recruit a new truck driver, it pays to improve your business’s image so truck drivers would want to work with you.
One of the best ways to improve your image is to reduce your company’s crash rates. When your truck drivers barely experience any accidents or crashes, you can be sure that truck drivers will want to work with you. This makes the whole hiring process a lot easier for you and your recruitment team.
Moreover, it also helps significantly with driver retention.
Better insurance premiums
One of the things that insurance companies look into before creating a personalized premium is how high the risk is when working with a company. The riskier the company is to work with, the more costly the insurance premium becomes.
Since a trucking company having a good CSA score translates to the company having fewer violations and fewer truck accidents, it tells insurance companies that they aren’t a high-risk business. Of course, that can easily translate to the insurance companies charging the trucking company less for their insurance plans.
Can you imagine the kind of image you’ll convey to the insurance companies if you have terrible a CSA score?
Because companies will end up experiencing lesser downtimes and incur lesser fees all while getting more customers, trucking companies are bound to get more profit.
Reduced expenses on clerical work
Because a company won’t have to contend with the tedious and time-consuming tasks of filling paper logs and doing manual calculations for reports, it can save on expenses they’d have incurred for doing clerical work.