What is The Real Cost of Compliance?
The ELD usage is mandatory for fleets and drivers across the United States. In the rush to purchase and implement ELD systems, some fleets may find themselves either still overwhelmed and facing unanticipated expenses, or unhappy with the ELD they chose.
If buyers aren’t careful while navigating their operation’s road to compliance, they could easily end up dealing with hidden fees and rising monthly costs for years to come. Fleets and owner-operators need to be mindful in their approach to ELD implementation to avoid these unforeseen expenses. So, what is the true cost of compliance? We hope to answer that here.
Don’t know where to start with ELDs? You’re not alone. The publication of the ELD mandate threw many fleet managers and owner-operators for a loop. Since the publication, the mandate has collected both its supporters and its dissenters. Some hold up its anti-harassment features as essential for the protection of long-haul drivers and motorists alike, while others point out the difficulty and cost of compliance as reasons to reject the mandate.
Regardless of the pros or cons, the compliance deadline has passed and the ELD mandate is now law. This means it’s time to stop debating and get compliant. You want to give your drivers all the tools they need to adapt to this new HOS logging system before a possible ELD-based DOT violation.
If you have not purchased an ELD system yet, start by making a list of your fleet’s ELD needs. These can vary by fleet and industry, so it’s a good idea to answer the following before seeking an ELD solution:
✓ What kind of logs do your drivers currently use (paper, AOBRD, etc.)?
✓ Are you exempt? There are only a few exceptions to mandatory ELD implementation. The following drivers may qualify for an exemption:
100 Air-Mile Radius Drivers: Drivers using the 395.1(e) logbook timecard exceptions (short-haul drivers)
Drive-Away/Tow-Away Drivers: Drivers transporting a vehicle for an operation (repair, sale, etc.) wherein the vehicle itself is the product being shipped.
Pre-2000 Model Drivers: Drivers operating vehicles manufactured prior to model year2000.
Limited Log Usage Drivers: Drivers whose paper log usage does not exceed 8 days in a 30-day period.
✓ Do you intend to integrate ELDs into an existing GPS vehicle tracking system? Once you know what you’re looking for in a solution, you can begin to shop around for a provider. Some ELD providers have only appeared very recently and have extremely limited experience with fleets. It’s a good idea to seek out providers who have at least a decade of vehicle telematics experience. These providers bring competence, experience, and an intimate understanding of the industry to the table.
Before choosing any ELD plan or provider, always be sure to ask yourself the following:
- Is this solution going to help or hinder my drivers?
- Is this solution compliant with all FMCSA rules?
- Does this provider have experience with fleets of similar size and scope to mine?
- Does this provider offer unlimited training and support, even after implementation is complete?
- Has this provider certified their ELD solution?
- How long has this provider been working with commercial vehicle fleets?
- Does this provider understand the common problems faced by those in my industry?
- Is this provider upfront about cost? Do they have a history of charging hidden fees?
Total Cost of Getting Started: $0.00
There are plenty of ELDs on the market, but how many are actually FMCSA-compliant? It’s important to know what to look for when you shop for a solution. One of the most important steps in making the mandate work for you is choosing an ELD provider who is well-equipped to help you deal with any compliance issues you encounter along the way. You’ll want to select a provider who can customize their ELD solution to fit your fleet—a provider who acts as a member of your team. Getting compliant can be tricky, so it’s always a good idea to have a team of experts on your side to offer solutions and advice. Do your research, read reviews, and get to know your potential providers before making a final decision.
Total Cost of Choosing Wisely: $0.00
Current provider Dissatisfaction
If you have chosen an ELD provider and are unhappy with their system or service, it’s not too late, consider speaking with one of our Fleet Advisors who will guide you through the process of switching providers. We understand the process for becoming compliant is complicated and often confusing, our goal is to make it a simple and seamless transition for you.
While there is no substitute for industry experience, cost should also be taken into consideration when selecting an ELD provider. If a solution doesn’t suit your fleet’s budget, it’s simply not viable.
While price should always be taken into consideration, it shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in your decision to purchase a solution. It’s always a good idea to get a live demonstration of an ELD solution before buying. This demonstration will give you some great insights into the solution’s features, quality, and ease of use.
To be fully compliant, your ELD solution must support the following:
Telematics Transfer: The ELD must be able to electronically transfer data to an authorized safety official on demand via wireless web services and email.
Local Transfer: The ELD must be able to electronically transfer data to an authorized safety official on demand via USB 2.0 and Bluetooth®.
Automatic Recording: The ELD must record the following at certain intervals: Date, Time, Location Information, Engine Hours, Vehicle Miles, and Identification for the Driver, Authenticated User, Vehicle, and Motor Carrier.
Automated Entry: This must occur at each change of duty status, at 60-minute intervals while the CMV is in motion, at the beginning and end of personal/yard move use and at engine-on and engine-off events.
Duty Status Graph: The ELD must provide a digital display or printed presentation of a graph grid of driver’s daily duty status changes.
Annotations and Edits: While original records cannot be revised and must be retained, edited versions of these must be supported by the ELD.
Detection: The ELD must be able to monitor engine connectivity, timing, etc., to identify data inconsistencies and detectable malfunctions.
Total Cost of Getting Compliant: Varies
Acing The Inspection
During a DOT roadside inspection, your drivers will be asked to present their electronic logs for the DOT officer to inspect. If these logs are found to be inaccurate or non-compliant, the officer may issue a penalty. The fine involved in this penalty may vary depending on the violator’s history and standing with the DOT. These penalties can include fines ranging in amount from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
It should be noted that, if a driver or company is penalized for noncompliance but fails to implement a compliant system, each subsequent fine they receive could be far more costly than the last. This is why getting on board with ELD usage as soon as possible is of the utmost importance for commercial fleets of all sizes.
Total Savings from Acing the Inspection: Thousands per Inspection
The Real Cost of Compliance
Still wondering what getting compliant with the ELD mandate will cost you? If you handle your ELD solution selection and implementation properly, the system will pay for itself in no time. The cost of compliance is negligible when compared to the significant cost of noncompliance, which could financially cripple a fleet.