Choosing the right ELD doesn’t have to be overwhelming

We all know that by the end of the year we must spend thousands of dollars per vehicle to become compliant with the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration electronic logging device guidelines for passenger vehicles.

That cost is just unthinkable. How can we stay in business and stay competitive with these requirements?

The question is whether we really need to spend money on:

  • Engine maintenance software
  • Cosmetic maintenance management software
  • Software to maintain the upkeep of the interior

How do we, as management, know that a problem or an issue was resolved to our standards? Who is accountable to let us know that something is failing or if a seat has a small tear or if the bathroom door makes noise?

The answer to many of these questions is simple: make sure you choose a quality, cost-effective ELD with a good Driver Vehicle Inspection Report feature included.

Here is what to look for:

  • Is the ELD FMCSA approved (manufacturers self-certify that their devises meet FMCSA requirements)?
  • Is the ELD able to handle passenger carrier hours of service (passenger carrier rules are different than those for over-the-road motor carriers)?
  • Does the ELD require additional expensive components or software to run?
  • Is there a back office included so you can see the location of your buses on the road and other relevant details?
  • Do you get notification of issues identified during the pre- and post-DVIR when the report is done or when the vehicle gets back to your yard?
  • Can you see pictures of damage prior to the vehicle coming back to the yard?
  • Can you track who made the repair or solved the issue on a coach?
  • Do you have the option of using the driver’s smartphone for the ELD or can you use a tablet, or are you required to use expensive hardware supplied by the manufacturer?
  • Does the company charge for the hardware that they require you to use?
  • Do you pay per driver or per coach?
  • Can the driver perform his or her log certification on a mobile device?
  • If a coach is out of service and you need to rent one, can you use the ELD device from the out-of-service coach on the rental?
  • Will you be able to get help if you need it?

Many small operators and independent truck drivers may be planning on waiting until the last minute. Don’t get stuck being part of that frenzied environment with hundreds of thousands of companies all trying to insure delivery of their ELDs before the December 18 deadline.

Many ELD companies are saying if everyone waits they will not have enough product to fulfill the need. Getting on board early ensures compliance and gives drivers and management time to get comfortable using ELDs.

Neal Katz is CEO of Simple Truck ELD, Inc., and director of Triesten Technologies, LLC. He can be reached at

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