ELD bells and whistles

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Updated May 2, 2018
DriverTech in 2017 launched the DT4000 Rev 7, a communications platform that comes with ELD capabilities and a front-facing dash camera to capture critical event video. Other ancillary features include truck-specific navigation and the ability to link with Cummins Connected Diagnostics and the Meritor Tire Inflation System. M2M in Motion is another ELD provider offering dashcam capabilities for critical-event video capture.DriverTech in 2017 launched the DT4000 Rev 7, a communications platform that comes with ELD capabilities and a front-facing dash camera to capture critical event video. Other ancillary features include truck-specific navigation and the ability to link with Cummins Connected Diagnostics and the Meritor Tire Inflation System. M2M in Motion is another ELD provider offering dashcam capabilities for critical-event video capture.

From built-in dashcams to scanners and transportation management software (TMS) system integration capabilities, electronic logging devices do more, often a lot more, than merely provide hours of service functionality.

ISE Fleet Services’ eFleetSuite ELD, for example, can be scaled to add features on the Android system that underlies the dedicated unit. Owner-operators and fleets “can invest on it upfront and spend more money down the road if that’s what’s necessary,” says Chris Nelson, ISE vice president.

Although ISE calls the eFleetSuite e-logger a “baseline compliance” device designed originally to satisfy the needs of a particular set of leased owner-operators, logs aren’t the only thing it can do. As with many competing devices, the GPS-enabled connections to the truck’s electronic control module open up the possibility to automate fuel-tax data collection that can be output to multiple IFTA providers, Nelson says.

For Jack Schwalbach of the Reinders private fleet, similar functions within the Geotab e-log service are among the biggest benefits he’s seen. “Fuel tax is a huge problem,” Schwalbach says – or was, before moving to Geotab’s system paired with dedicated Android tablets for logs. Previously, Reinders often was at the mercy of its drivers’ record-keeping abilities or best guesses for state mileages. “Now, at the end of the month and end of the quarter, I gather the info for fuel tax and don’t waste eight hours at the end of the month, minimum, trying to get the records.”

ERoad and its ELD also take tax-management functionality to another level. The product is built on top of a system originally designed for debiting weight-mile user fees in New Zealand and then piloted in Oregon to track use in that state’s weight-mile system. After that, says company representative Gail Levario, the product will have “an end-to-end solution on the IFTA side.”

Other administrative-type functionality involves electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) for pre- and post-trip inspections. Many devices provide drivers with an electronic checklist for areas that need work. Maintenance personnel or the driver himself then can sign off on repairs as they happen, creating an electronic maintainence record.

The ELD by the EzLogz company, recently introduced, features social and other functions that include a walkie-talkie/CB-like capability, allowing group and one-on-one conversation and archiving the audio in a text-message-app-type display. It’s operable on iOS-powered smartphones or tablets (Android coming soon).The ELD by the EzLogz company, recently introduced, features social and other functions that include a walkie-talkie/CB-like capability, allowing group and one-on-one conversation and archiving the audio in a text-message-app-type display. It’s operable on iOS-powered smartphones or tablets (Android coming soon).

iGlobal’s Edge MDT ELD and communications platform features a push-to-talk cellular option with a familiar CB-style microphone and is used by Paramount Freight Systems to accelerate payments to its owner-operators. With the Edge’s built-in high-speed scanner, owner-operators use the module “like a cash machine,” says iGlobal’s Chris Phibbs. “They’ll pay the owner-operator as soon as they get their paperwork.”

The Drivewyze weigh-station bypassing service is integrated as an option in the BYOD ELD of Transflo and dedicated units of Rand McNally, Omnitracs, PeopleNet and Zonar.

Many systems also present the back office with dispatching tools, from map views of drivers’ locations and available hours to historical views of routes and more. Bill Frerichs of Frerichs Freight Lines says that even without full ELD functionality, his fleet has been able to improve dispatch by using Android tablets running BigRoad’s software.

“We’re using their map feature so you can see the drivers and using it to tell them where to fuel in some cases,” says Frerichs, who participates in the National Association of Small Trucking Companies’ fuel-discount network. “My key people [in the office] all have that BigRoad app on their desktop.”

Such functionality could help more carriers track detention time. “ELDs are going to come full circle and get your time at the docks under control,” Frerichs believes.

A variety of business tools also are emerging from some new players in the ELD landscape. Both the Simple Truck ELD and Konexial’s My20 are marketing load board-like services to owner-operators. Konexial says the app associated with his company’s BYOD ELD service “will alert a driver of [available loads] within a geographic location.”

Larger fleets also are finding ways to make the most of the e-log transition by using their hours of service data for more than just compliance. The data can be integrated with TMS systems and routing applications that optimally match drivers to loads and make adjustments to the pickup-and-delivery schedule as the day progresses.

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Omnitracs’ relatively new Route, Dispatch, Compliance (RDC) system is designed for fleets with last-mile delivery operations that operate under HOS regulations. The web-based system uses data from the Omnitracs XRS mobile and ELD application to plan routes and make real-time dynamic changes as the day progresses.

P&S Transportation, a 1,100-truck carrier based in Birmingham, Ala., uses a planning tool called Driver Feasibility in its LoadMaster TMS system from McLeod Software. The tool provides an automated checklist for driver-load assignments by evaluating drivers’ current hours, location, load status and future availability.

P&S requires all personnel in operations and dispatch to use the tool when assigning loads to drivers that run e-logs, says Tiffany Giekes, director of business process. The company implemented e-logs three years ago in its flatbed and refrigerated operations. “We are making good business decisions before we talk to a driver about a load,” Giekes says. “It is a huge benefit to know if a driver is going to make it on time.”

P&S driver managers also use Driver Feasibility to coach drivers who are relatively new to e-logs. Managers can show them how to plan trips, including where to take breaks and fuel, to make deliveries safely and on time.

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