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What fleets need to know as we march toward full ELD Mandate compliance

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start looking for an ELD solution now. Here are three things to consider when shopping around for an ELD.

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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If you haven’t already, it’s time to start looking for an ELD solution now. Here are three things to consider when shopping around for an ELD.

1. Make sure your ELD of choice is compliant

“There is a multitude of ELD options available in the market. Some people may find that the ELD they purchased isn’t compliant, while others may see their ELD provider go out of business,” said Andrew Dondlinger, vice president and general manager of connected services at Navistar, which offers the OnCommand Connection ELD-compliant telematics platform that works on all makes and models. “We recommend drivers and fleets who are still in the market for a solution go with an ELD from a reputable brand who provides more functionality than just a driver log, and is willing to stand behind their product and develop new solutions over time.”

2. If you’re using AOBRDs: while you’re currently compliant, you won’t be for much longer

“Though it is currently popular for fleets with AOBRDs to continue to use them as such, we are encouraging some customers to update their software sooner rather than later,” said John Gaither, ELD product specialist at GPS Insight. “For most of our customers, the updates do not require additional hardware or software cost and are easily accomplished with our HOS Support Team.”

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The use of AOBRDs to comply with the ELD mandate was grandfathered into the Dec. 18, 2017, deadline. However, mandatory, full use of ELDs goes into effect Dec. 16, 2019—meaning that AOBRDs will no longer be compliant. You will need a true ELD solution to be compliant when that date comes.

“The transition from AOBRD to ELD is likely to be painful for the drivers who will have to re-learn the technology. The rules deployed under the AOBRD legislation and those under the ELD mandate are very different,” said Ken Creager, senior vice president of sales and marketing for EROAD Inc. “The ELD mandate requires specific hardware and software components that many older AOBRDs do not possess. As a result, most of them will need to be changed for something newer.”

3. Consider the solution’s benefits beyond ELD compliance

“A large percentage of our customers have benefitted from additional telematics features,” said Erin Cave, vice president of mobile products for Verizon Connect. “Fleets that manage ELDs with back office tools can use the same system to monitor safety metrics, idle time, fuel use and more. For example, many of our customers value the ability to use ETAs to drive their business. With so many mobile workers on the road, it is imperative that our customers can relay the location of their drivers to their own customers—keeping the chain updated and setting appropriate expectations.”

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Confusion, conflict and the importance of common courtesy

One more note: It’s important to remember that everyone in the ELD mandate enforcement process—from you, the fleet that needs to invest in the technology and your drivers who need to understand and use it, to the law officers who are enforcing it—is dealing with it for the first time. It’s a good idea to remind your drivers that a cooperative, positive attitude in ELD enforcement situations can go a long way.

“’Patience is a virtue’ could not be more true than now,” said GPS Insight’s Gaither. “Drivers who encounter minor violations avoidable with AOBRDs and paper logs need to be trained to annotate and communicate. Courtesy and understanding are likely to go a long way in the coming months.”

Click here to read the full feature story on ELDs and the impending out-of-service enforcement date.

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