Are You Ready? Helpful Hints for Choosing an ELD System

Are You Ready? The Time Is Now - Helpful Hints for Choosing an ELD System and Vendor

Since the system will involve hardware and software, you will need to consider when and how the devices and back office system can be implemented. How long will it realistically take you to install all the equipment once the decision is made to move forward? What level of technical knowledge will your mechanics need to install and set up the onboard system? Are you going to use outside shops to install some or all of the devices? Do you need your own IT personnel to install and operate the system? Does the vendor store the data and provide an access portal, rather than placing the hardware and software burden on you? If so, how extensive is the training for back office personnel going to be? These are all considerations that need to be reviewed in advance. This is meant to be a summary of information contained in the rule. Be sure to review the rule and seek any legal advice from counsel. This material contains suggestions, and companies should find an approach that fits their unique operations best.

On or after December 18, 2017, carriers may install only devices on the list published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The list of registered ELDs can be found at

All portable devices must be mounted in the vehicle, clearly visible to the driver when he/she is seated in driving position. The device must not allow entries to be made while the vehicle is in motion.

All drivers’ accounts must include driver’s license information. This is only to validate that the account belongs to an actual driver at the company. All accounts in the system must have a user ID to track entries and changes made within the system. This includes supervisors, support personnel, and drivers. An individual who is both a driver and a supervisor - such as an owner-operator - will have to have two separate accounts, one as a driver and one as a supervisor.

The ELD must automatically capture a data set at vehicle startup and shutdown, at all duty changes, once per hour while the vehicle is in operation, and when starting or ending a “special driving period.” The data must include:

  • Date and time
  • Location (accurate to within one mile in normal operation, 10 miles during personal use)
  • Engine hours
  • Vehicle miles
  • Driver
  • Vehicle
  • Carrier 

Below are some questions to ask vendors:

  1. Is the AOBRD/ELD provider financially stable? How long has it been selling the product?
  2. How many carriers have they implemented? Do they have references?
  3. What is your secure process to track and back up six months of data?
  4. Can you bring your own interface device? iOS® and Android®? Is the hardware portable to another ELD provider?
  5. What specific vendor support is provided during an audit?
  6. Did the vendor follow FMCSA’s process to certify the ELD?
  7. Which Hours of Service (HOS) exceptions and rule sets are supported?
  8. What specific after-hours support is provided to drivers?
  9. Are features available such as real-time driver safety event alerts, fuel efficiency and IFTA reporting?
  10. Other considerations are the warranty, contract length, software updates, system downtime, and replacement/repair time for malfunctions. 

Choosing the right system is important to ensure the smooth transition from paper to electronic logs. The earlier you begin looking at systems and vendors the better. A rushed decision is usually not an informed decision. Make sure you ask questions and get all the features you want for your company. Each company is different, and what will work for one company may not work for another.

The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your Safety Representative, or click below to find an agent.    

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© Copyright Great West Casualty Company 2017. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”

This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.