I Just Started Using an ELD. Here Are the Pros and Cons so Far.

Posted: 27 Sep, 2017 by Chad Boblett


46 Comments

Categories: Best Practices and Benchmarks

Tags: CarrierOwner-Operator


Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 13,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.

 

I am now ready for ELD mandate on Dec. 18. I've had an electronic logging device for a while, but I hadn't plugged it in yet, mostly because I didn't want to start paying for the service. I decided to "go live" with it in the truck last week for a few reasons. 

My biggest worry is what will happen if everyone waits until December to get their ELD. If everyone waits until the last minute, then the majority of carriers will still be adjusting to electronic logbooks. Dec. 18 will just be another day for me — hopefully with higher spot market rates because other truckers are adjusting to the new technology.

I also want to share my experience using the plugged-in ELD since there's so much fear and animosity towards this change. I understand because those of us who run the spot market are some of the last ones left in this industry to make the change.

The ELD I went with was KeepTruckin, so my experience is based on their product. The product you decide to use will need to be similar in order to be FMCSA-compliant.

 

Getting started was simple — I just connect the supplied cable to the diagnostic connector under the dash, and then to the ELD. Next, I used Bluetooth to connect my phone to the ELD. Once the ELD gives a green light, you are ready to go. All that takes just a few minutes. Filling out the electronic logbook on your phone is the same as with paper logs. 

PROS

Set it and forget it. Right away, you get the feeling that everything is automated. The ELD always knows your location, and it automatically puts that into the logs where it is needed. When you start driving, you don't have to worry about your log any more, because it already knows you are moving and will put you on the drive line. 

You will probably want to use two logbook rules that you may not have utilized in the past. One is "on duty yard move," and the other is "personal conveyance." You can edit all the lines in your logbook except the drive line, but you can use these two rules to save and protect your drive time when it is permitted.

Personal conveyance interpretation: A driver may not operate a laden commercial motor vehicle as a personal conveyance. That means your trailer has to be empty, or you're bobtailing. The company has to relieve the driver of his duty, so in most cases this would be once the load is delivered or trailer dropped, with signatures on paperwork by the receiver. Reminder: ALL miles must be accounted for and reported on the IFTA report whether loaded, empty, or personal. 

CONS

As soon as you start driving, the countdown starts. From the very beginning of the day, you are reminded that once you are out of time, that's it. No flexibility. This is a result of the ELD rule itself, not KeepTruckin's ELD.

I have made this same trip many times and know that I have the time to make it happen, but what if something happens like a traffic jam? I normally like to take it easy going down the road and try to avoid getting in the hammer lane unless I need to, but getting the job done as fast as I can — driving the speed limit, of course — caused me to lose 3 to 4 tenths of a mile per gallon.  

Also, the 30-minute break is now really a 30-minute break. Using the words "close enough" and taking off does not work anymore. Again, this con is with the HOS rules themselves and not the KeepTruckin product.

Bottom line: 

I think most of us would prefer not to be bothered with this micromanagement from our government, but with only three months to go, procrastinating could create an unnecessary burden. Start now and promote to your customers and the brokers you work with that Dec. 18 will just be another day for you.

Thanks for reading, and I will write more about my experience with the ELD. 

Leave your comments

  • profile

    William

    • 9/27/2017 11:44:43 AM

    That's the one I've been leaning towards. Thanks for the review..

    Reply 
  • profile

    Cecil Harris

    • 9/27/2017 1:43:19 PM

    I’ve used the ELD (Big Road) for about a month now. DON’T like it! There is NO GIVE. I lt’s like standing in front of a time clock waiting on the last 5 -15 minuets to pass before going back to work. Paper is more flexible when needed.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Dave

    • 9/27/2017 3:47:06 PM

    I have been using the app for a week and just ordered the eld, pretty user friendly, here we go!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Cindy Barnard

    • 9/27/2017 8:49:47 PM

    I spent 1.5 hours on the phone today with a representative from Keep Truckin who was very knowledgeable and helpful. The demo he provided was outstanding! We are placing our order tomorrow so that we can get up and running before December.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Javier

    • 9/28/2017 7:54:04 AM

    Creo que usar un log electrónico, causará que los choferes, por recuperar tiempo vamos a tener que aumentar la velocidad y eso causará más estrés, si es que no un accidente..

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Bruce

    • 9/29/2017 8:14:29 AM

    Dig your heels in and stand up for what is right! Just say NO!!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Ivory Bradley

    • 9/29/2017 8:38:19 AM

    I don't have this particular one,but I just started using the transflo hos device about a week ago and I must say it's not bad,with better planning of my day I can make it work,I was just playing around with it and found it to be very beneficial when it comes to doing my ifta taxes!!! Don't have to buy so many ink pens now😀😀😀😀

    Reply 3 comments
  • profile

    Bruce

    • 9/29/2017 8:40:13 AM

    Dig your heels in and just say NO!!!

    Reply 
  • profile

    marko krsmanovic

    • 9/29/2017 8:48:07 AM

    so far in the last two years i have seen more accidents and its getting worse day by day... when we all go to ELD the amount of accidents will raise exponentially... we are not robots our biology does not follow some written rule... ELD will prevent us from taking that 1- 2 hour nap in the afternoon when ur eyes need a break and you cant help it but go to sleep you hit a traffic jam and you go to sleep 4 hours later you adjust the time table with ELD we are slaves and at higher risk... its 1 am ive been driving 6 hours and i need to go sleep my eyes are tired from qll the high beams and off road lights on the highway i have 5 hrs drive time left but only 6 hours on duty time and 3hours to my delivery with paper log ill sleep 4 hours during the crucial hours 1 to 5 am and ill be at my delivery at 8 am with ELD no one will care if im sleepy at 1 or 3 or 5 am or 7am. all everyone cares about is hey the computer says you can drive and tbey will want you to be there on time for ur delivery..... ive been driving since 2010 and so far i have not had an accident... 7 years and its because when my eyes say i need to sleep i sleep and paper log gives me flexibility to sleep when my body requires sleep and because i have the flexibility to stop and sleep during rushhour and continue after its cleared up... its not enough that we are already slaves to an economical system but now they want us to become slaves to a machine...??? my prediction ELD will not last through january and if by some miracle it does it will not survive the summer... our economy will not function with the ELD and current HOS regulations.... in orther fir ELD to exist HOS rules have to be more flexible such as no "on duty not driving restriction"

    Reply 3 comments
  • profile

    Kenny scott

    • 9/29/2017 9:05:46 AM

    Sure glad I have a glider with a 94 12.7 but I have pretend To have a Eld. Have talk to Shipper and receivers most are putting charges on for late pu or delivery and could careless about my problem. It will also be nice when you have to wait on a snow storm to catch up with you. Sleeping in ghettos will be interesting and I am getting good at going to bathroom while driving and brushing teeth. Lawyers will be busy because of the increase divorce rate when drivers can't get home. death rate among drivers will increase because the current hos is flawed and this will prove out as it is currently .

    Reply 
  • profile

    Don

    • 9/29/2017 9:29:08 AM

    They will not publish my first comment with its personal flair for take this.... Well, try this fact...not one large car manufacturer has given the green light to any of these devices...plug it in at your own risk....bye bye warranty.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Bryan French

    • 9/29/2017 10:04:06 AM

    As an owner operator I went with the ONE 20 ELD, through Amazon it’s 169.00. There is NO MONTHLY FEE and that was why I choose it. Otherwise it works just like the Keep trucking ELD which I had used before.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Ann

    • 9/29/2017 11:47:08 AM

    Still not going to buy ANY eld at all. Our body does NOT run by clock or electronic device. There is no flexibility for an e log to allow u to nap if u get sleepy in the middle of its clock period, and that is why we see so many single truck accidents nowadays where the e logging driver fell asleep You cannot make a living trying g to combine your body clock with an electronic device. Plain and simple. It's not safe and we refuse to use them.

    Reply 
  • profile

    PRP TRUCK

    • 9/29/2017 4:53:59 PM

    Just shut up and take. Trump is going to make it great again.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Troglodyte

    • 9/29/2017 6:42:08 PM

    My issue with the whole Cluster word is... In my pursuit of happiness, I do not want to trade liberty for a big electric eye. Consider the flaming idiot that drove 3 miles down the boardwalk? Enough said.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Bo

    • 10/12/2017 3:09:21 PM

    I also started with keep trucking Elds and so far so good. I'm putting them in one at a time to insure I don't get bombarded with a lot of problems at one time ,until the drivers get used to their new systems. Hopefully all will go well, but just in case there's allways RETIREMENT.

    Reply 2 comments
  • profile

    John Montgomery

    • 10/13/2017 9:09:23 AM

    Please get rid of this ELD crap .. That's all I have to say, 😾" Its definitely going to hurt us small business owner so bad 👿..this is the land of the free" understand this ELD crap junk doesn't represent Freedom at all.👎

    Reply 
  • profile

    Frank Russo

    • 10/13/2017 4:55:29 PM

    Just started using ELD. Tried Rand McNally's ELD-50 and the descriptor I'll use rhymes with DUCKS (as well as their tech support people). The DRIVE status mysteriously changes to ON while driving and has put me in violation even though I was perfectly legal. Unplugged that dog real quick and went with Transflo HOS. Very happy with it's performance. Not happy at all with FMSCA's HOS rules... but, we'll just have to bite the ELD bullet for now... keep fighting the good fight until, hopefully, we find someone in Washington with common sense and knows to use it.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Frank Russo

    • 10/13/2017 4:55:30 PM

    Just started using ELD. Tried Rand McNally's ELD-50 and the descriptor I'll use rhymes with DUCKS (as well as their tech support people). The DRIVE status mysteriously changes to ON while driving and has put me in violation even though I was perfectly legal. Unplugged that dog real quick and went with Transflo HOS. Very happy with it's performance. Not happy at all with FMSCA's HOS rules... but, we'll just have to bite the ELD bullet for now... keep fighting the good fight until, hopefully, we find someone in Washington with common sense and knows to use it.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Charles

    • 10/14/2017 5:13:58 AM

    This just PROVES that this country is NO LONGER a government by the people, for the people....... It is now Unconstitutional and Corrupt !!

    Reply 
  • profile

    James McGraw

    • 10/14/2017 5:43:50 AM

    Here is something everyone should know. There are AOBRD and ELD. If an owner operator or carrier has an AOBRD in use before Dec 18, 2017, they are grandfathered in for another 2 yrs. The biggest difference between the 2 is that an AOBRD is not tied into, or required to be tied into,the ECM of the truck and an ELD is. http://www.acordex.com/consulting/AOBRD_ELD_Differences.html . An AOBRD is more "lenient" or forgiving as compared to an ELD. Keep Trucking will let you use the software as an AOBRD if you ask.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Mike Ryan

    • 10/14/2017 8:39:56 AM

    while were at lets give up our guns too

    Reply 
  • profile

    Bryan French

    • 10/14/2017 1:29:35 PM

    If you are against ELD’s then you don’t run legal, period. I’m tired of all these cry babies out here. If you run legal, ELD’s are the way to go. Been an owner operator for over twenty years and the days of running three log books are over.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    PRP TRUCK

    • 10/14/2017 4:18:21 PM

    there will be not increase in the rates nor any other benefit to the small trucker with this new regulation.. The regulation purpose is to benefit the big trucking companies. But help its in the way Trump is goin to drain the swamp and we will be great !!!!!

    Reply 
  • profile

    John Eppe

    • 10/16/2017 3:28:44 AM

    1. When I am running over the road I can work with the ELD just fine. As I get into the grove and seems to work out. 2. Majority of my work though is delivery to distribution centers. Most nights I make it home with out issues. But since I'm home daily life becomes the big issue. I am not sleeping at a truck stop I am home with a wife, 2 kids and Other family members. Reality is things happen when u are home daily that you have to deal with. And if i don't get the proper sleep I do what is best for myself and others I pull over and get the sleep I need when I need it. I run the north east 2 to 4 days a week and come back via 95s In ct & ny. The road gets insane some mornings as you have the mad dash for the gw bridge. Guess what If I'm at all tired or getting agitated I pull over set my alarm for 3 to 5 hours and resume once the morning rush has past and things are calmer. I truly believe The majority of truckers value there own lives and others. But now a computer will make my decisions for me. And when I decide to do what is good for myself and others I will be replaced as I can not miss a shift. Accidents will increase as people will push to make locations and be stressed out while trying to get there. Who wins????? Come on this is America Large companies who have trucks all over the place and drivers available to relay loads. I have not researched it but id imagine large outfits funded this legislation. American jobs keep getting consolidated and small mom and pops die out daily. My safety and safety of others is my only concern. But it also costs money to keep trucks on the road so again I think you will see a lot more aggressive driving and wrecks. Again if I personally adjust my book I only did it as it was the smartest and safest thing to do. I wish everyone well with this as we don't have a choice. For those of you who say I have been trucking for 20 years and have no issue that's great for you. But all trucking jobs are not the same and we as people should be aloud to do what is best for our safety and others it's that simple. I still will do what's right in the name of safety and sadly some won't.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Jon

    • 10/25/2017 2:14:47 PM

    THEY TOOOK OOOUR JOOOOOBS!!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Robert

    • 12/20/2017 6:17:04 AM

    I have been on keep trucking already but have not been using the Blue tooth / Plug in . When i get this plug in will I still be able to edit my drive line like before? Thank you. Rob

    Reply 
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