Because the FMCSA’s ELD mandate means commercial drivers now must employ ELDs, many drivers are looking for the easiest and most efficient ways to stay compliant. This is where ELD apps come in handy.
In this section, learn what an ELD app is, the difference between an ELD and an ELD app, other helpful compliance information, and what to look for in a good ELD app.
What is an ELD app?
Free ELD apps help commercial drivers record and display their Hours of Service (HOS) and record of duty status (RODS). In general, ELD apps are used in BYOD (bring your own device)-based ELD systems, and are otherwise commonly known as electronic logbooks, electronic logbook apps, or electronic log apps.
What is the difference between an ELD and an ELD app?
An ELD is a system that includes a hardware device that connects directly to a commercial vehicle and automatically records drivers hours and duty statuses for viewing and reporting. An ELD doesn’t refer to an app — an ELD is specifically the system that records Hours of Service information, and an ELD app displays the information that the ELD system collects.
In addition to displaying the data and ELD collects, ELD apps often have features in which the driver can utilize recorded data for sharing, reporting, and operating more efficiently on the road.
Are ELD apps considered FMCSA compliant?
ELD apps are FMCSA compliant when they’re paired with an ELD system, though as the section above details, ELD apps don’t serve as a replacement for ELDs. Among other ELD technical specifications, an ELD system must have a component attached directly to a commercial vehicle in a fixed position to record and send data, and an app for a mobile device won’t be able to serve this function.
What should you look for in a good ELD app?
To make sure you choose a good ELD app, you’ll want something that makes recording your HOS and RODS fast and easy. You’ll also want something that complies with FMCSA regulations and helps you meet the obligations that the ELD mandate outlines.
Look for an ELD app that has:
- A high number of positive user reviews: You’ll have more trust in the app you choose if it has been tested and approved by your peers.
- A friendly user interface: Apps with more familiar interfaces which resemble paper logbooks tend to be a favorite among users.
- Proactive HOS violation alerts: Proactive alerts for things like running out of driving time can be beneficial.
- Secure DOT inspection: A secure DOT inspection feature will allow you to easily show your ELD logs to an officer during a roadside inspection while maintaining your privacy.
- Comprehensive recap of activity: This functionality allows you to view total hours worked and available HOS in a comprehensive view so you can easily stay on track.
- Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs): Make sure to get an app that comes with built-in functionality to allow you to create your necessary DVIRs and track any defects.
- Document management and messaging: These features will enable you to keep up to date with your fleet manager through direct messaging and document sharing features so you can quickly send photos, bills, etc.
- Reliable customer support: Do your research about customer support before you choose your ELD app. Make sure the app gives you access to help article documentation and a 24/7 support team to help you with essential issues whenever they arise.