March 21, 2018

The post-mandate ELD implementation guide

The post-mandate ELD implementation guide

On December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate became effective, which means that non-exempt drivers required FMCSA-compliant electronic logging devices.

However, according to a recent “Bloomberg/Truckstop Quarterly Truckload Survey,” approximately 868,000 drivers didn’t have a compliant ELD solution at the end of December 2017.

Some drivers didn’t adopt an ELD solution because of the “soft enforcement” period.

The CVSA and the FMCSA had announced that until April 1, 2018, ELD violations wouldn’t affect CSA scores. Moreover, drivers also wouldn’t be placed out-of-service until April 1.

However, even that “soft enforcement” deadline is about to end very soon.

The April 1 ELD enforcement deadline is here. Non-exempt commercial drivers without ELDs will face several difficulties if they don’t have a compliant ELD solution.

6 tips for installing ELDs in 2018

Before the ELD mandate, implementing ELDs was a confusing process for many carriers and truckers. They didn’t have a lot of clarity.

Things have changed since then, but some drivers are still slightly confused.

In this article, we will walk you through the ELD implementation process, so you can install a compliant ELD solution and be ready before full enforcement begins.

1. Finding an FMCSA-compliant ELD solution

It’s all about compliance.

If your chosen ELD solution isn’t FMCSA-compliant, it’s of no use.

If you’re not sure which ELD you want to buy, start with the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs. However, note that not all ELDs in the FMCSA’s self-certified list are 100% compliant.

Annette Sandberg, ex-FMCSA head, once said:

“As a former regulator, the biggest concern I have is the number of ELD vendors that are currently on the FMCSA list [of approved vendors] that probably should not be. Vendors on this list are supposed to have ELD systems that can be self-certified, which means it meets the criteria and can be added to the approved list.”

In short, self-certified does not mean compliant.

You will have to do your own research to find a compliant ELD solution.

The FMCSA’s “Choosing an Electronic Logging Device Checklist” is a good resource to continue your research.

2. Focus on ease of use

Using ELDs can be confusing for some drivers — especially for those who have been using paper logs for decades. Therefore, ease-of-use should be one of your primary concerns.

Are the ELD and the driver app easy-to-use, simple, and intuitive? Because if they are not, you will have headaches down the road.

Adopting technology should simplify your operations, automate processes, and minimize efforts — not the other way around.

From design to functionality to features, everything should be well thought out and intuitive.

Sierra Mountain Express chose KeepTruckin for its simplicity and ease of use. Safety Manager Eric Stallings, who had previously used Rand McNally, said:

“Our back office staff likes KeepTruckin 100% better. With Rand, we had to go through a long drop down and complex series of clicks just to see a driver’s logs. With KeepTruckin, you click a button, and there they are. A well thought out design.”

He also added, “Each new feature KeepTruckin has added is simple and built with the user in mind.”

In short, the ELD system should be simple enough that it works for you, simplifies your operations, and makes you more productive.

3. Analyze third-party and user reviews

Before making any decision, it is important to analyze third-party reviews. ELDratings.com is a good resource for independent ELD reviews.

Furthermore, you should also analyze user reviews by visiting the ELD company’s Facebook page as well as Google Play Store and iTunes pages.

By analyzing user reviews, you will be able to identify the problems that drivers are facing on a regular basis, e.g., connectivity problems, app freezing and crashing, difficulty in using the app, etc.

When reading the reviews, also look for the following issues to spot any compliance-related problems that you may have to deal with later.

  • Incorrect location, odometer, and mileage data
  • A reliance on cellular connectivity
  • Not recognizing duty status changes
  • Modifying duty status changes incorrectly
  • An inability to send a compliant output file during roadside inspections
  • Unreliable notifications for upcoming violations

If you spot any of these problems, there’s a good chance that drivers using that app could be facing compliance issues.

The good news is that KeepTruckin doesn’t have any of these problems.

The KeepTruckin Electronic Logbook App is the highest-rated mobile elog app on Google Play Store and iTunes with over 13,000 5.0 star reviews. Over 500,000 drivers trust the KeepTruckin App for their regulatory needs.

Following are some user reviews.

KeepTruckin app reviews

4. Don’t neglect technical support

If an ELD provider does not offer 24×7 technical support, run away.

Electronic logging devices can sometimes be too technical for some drivers and fleet managers — especially in the beginning. You need a helpful support staff to walk you through each and every step.

If you have to wait hours before someone responds, it’s not going to help you.

Besides, an active technical support system reflects how a company treats its customers, and you deserve the best.

Find the company’s support line number and give it a call. If you can’t get a prompt response, that’s a huge red flag. This shows the kind of delays you will have to face once you buy an ELD from that company.

Jerry Albert, the General Manager at Kansas City Limousine, said the following about KeepTruckin’s support:

“Right from the start, it was obvious KeepTruckin’s customer service, and communication was phenomenal. The other companies just didn’t seem as on top of it.”

And here is what Matt Myers, a fleet supervisor at CSX Intermodal, has to say about the KeepTruckin support system:

“With KeepTruckin, I get through to a person right away. Our drivers have also been impressed with the support. If they have a question, they get an answer within five minutes.”

Support is critical. Unless you are seeing such raving reviews about an ELD vendor’s support system, you should be very cautious.

After all, you wouldn’t want to wait for hours to get a response while your ELD isn’t working and you’re losing valuable hours, would you?

5. Compare ELD prices

Not all ELDs are priced equally.

Some ELD vendors still charge thousands of dollars, while other ELD solutions are available for as low as $20 per month with no additional charges.

Before you choose an ELD solution, make sure to compare prices.

Use our free ELD price comparison chart to see what others are charging.

Note: Some ELD vendors also have hidden charges apart from the monthly fees and upfront cost you pay. Make sure to extract complete information — the exact amount that you’d be paying.

The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-compliant and costs just $20 per month with no additional charges whatsoever.

If you want additional features, such as automated IFTA calculation, driver scorecards, vehicle diagnostics, and idle-time tracking, you can buy the KeepTruckin ELD Plus for just $30 per month.

6. Shipping time

The April 1, 2018, enforcement deadline is just around the corner, and you would want the ELDs shipped to you as soon as possible.

Before you finalize the contract, make sure to confirm the time it would take for the ELD provider to ship your devices.

Also, take into account the time it would take for ELD installation and driver training.

KeepTruckin is delivering ELDs in just 3 days. You can buy the KeepTruckin ELD online in less than 5 minutes — no need to deal with a sales rep if you don’t want to.

Furthermore, if you are on the road, you can buy the KeepTruckin ELD from Pilot Flying J. Drivers who purchase the KeepTruckin ELD from PFJ will receive the ELD hardware device, a 9-pin and 6-pin cable, a DOT reference card, and instruction materials.

You can then set up the KeepTruckin ELD in only a few minutes and become compliant right away.

To find a travel center near you, use the Pilot Flying J store locator.

What’s next?

Non-exempt truckers only have a few days before the “soft enforcement” period ends. The April 1 enforcement deadline will bring severe penalties with it, so make sure you are 100% prepared.

Use the tips mentioned above to buy the perfect ELD solution for you in 2018.

If you want to buy the KeepTruckin ELD, you can buy it online today.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at support@keeptruckin.com. We are available 24×7 to help you.

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