The electronic logging device (ELD) rule, also known as the ELD mandate, took effect on December 18, requiring commercial drivers in the trucking industry to switch from logging their driving hours on paper to using an electronic logging device. While transportation and logistics firms have raised concerns with the costs associated with equipping their drivers with these new devices, experts on the technology believe that the devices can actually save these companies large amounts of money in fuel costs.
The technology embedded in these logging devices can vary depending on what kind of device a fleet purchases for its drivers, according to Trucker.com. Many companies have tried to cut costs by purchasing the least advanced ELD’s for their trucks, which provide GPS and hours of service tracking. Other companies have decided to invest in the best ELD’s on the market, which provide GPS, HOS and an application programmable interface which provides better communication within fleets. These more advanced devices even offer an engine-connected telematics solution that can improve driver safety and increase fuel efficiency.
The decision on which ELD to adopt can be a difficult decision for an overland freight transporter, especially since they can either save money by buying the most basic devices, or take a risk by buying more advanced devices in the hopes to save fuel costs in the future. Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, told Transport Topics, “It would seem if you’re going the ELD route you might as well buy a more capable telematics system with some of these analytics.”
It seems that the return on investment is worth the risk with these advanced logging devices, because the better the technology, the more money a driver can save a company by using less fuel on their drives. Jason Jones, information technology manager at Solar Transport, said telematics systems have resulted in significant fuel savings for his fleet and the data has helped support business decisions. Even if the cost for these devices are relatively high, between $200 and $2,200, the money a fleet can save from reduced fuel consumption can be very considerable in the long run.