If you haven't made the move to ELDs yet, you're probably starting to put a transition plan in place - if not, what's the hold up? The ELD mandate is approaching quickly, and there is a bit of groundwork you need to do before making the switch.
Using an engine-connected solution will be big adjustment for you! Here are 5 steps you can follow to make sure your transition to an electronic logging device is an easy one, plus 1 bonus tip to get started!
1. Understand The ELD Mandate Rules
You don't need to spend weeks pouring over the mandate, learning every rule inside and out. But it is important to understand some essential information. In addition to understanding what an ELD is and why they are being mandated, there are a few key pieces of information that you'll want to pick up.
If you are still unclear about some hours-of-service rules, that's a good place to start. You'll also want to know about the various exemptions to the ELD mandate, a timeline of when it will roll out, and significant clauses - like the 2-year AOBRD extension clause.
2. Check the FMCSA List
Once you understand the rules, it's time to start looking for a provider. The very first step you should take is to make sure you are looking at FMCSA-certified devices. The FMCSA is directing fleets and owner-operators to only purchase ELDs from vendors certified on their list of registered ELD providers.
However, as this is a self-certification list, no two devices will be created equally. You'll see some lesser-known providers that added themselves early on - many within weeks of the final rule publication. In contrast, BigRoad went through extensive development and testing to ensure we're delivering our customers a device that complies with the FMCSA's functional and technical specifications, and is also enjoyable for drivers and fleets to use.
3. Find an Easy ELD
This is a device that you will likely use every day, so it's important to find one that will be intuitive, enjoyable to use, and that doesn't have a steep learning curve. Using an ELD should make your job easier, after all!
A great way to do this is by finding a provider that allows you to try-before-you-buy. Some providers, like BigRoad, have a free electronic logging app that you can use to test out the interface before you commit to purchasing their product. If not, see if the provider has a free trial option that will give you a chance to get a feel for how the solution will work.
4. Look at Some ELD Reviews Online!
Learning what your peers think of a product is a great indication of how it will work for you. By finding an experienced solution provider with a good reputation, you'll be able to rest easy knowing that you're be in good hands. You'll be working with your provider for a long time, so it will make a big difference to choose one that has a great reputation for service and who you'll enjoy working with.
A great place to start investigating whether or not you'll be happy with your provider is through word-of-mouth. Find out what your fellow truckers use and like, or what they don't like. Then of course, check out the online reviews! Look to your potential providers' social channels to read their reviews, or read the user reviews on the Google Play or Apple iTunes Stores.
5. Keep Your ELD Budget in Mind
In order to ensure a smooth transition, finding an ELD solution that won't break the bank or cause you a significant financial disturbance is key. A lot of providers charge you an expensive hardware fee, and then charge you a monthly service fee on top of that - which can really add up! On the flip side, some providers charge you a relatively low hardware fee and no service charge - and that raises some flags, too. Without a contract or a continued service fee, can you trust that the provider will be available to you if something goes wrong?
A provider that doesn't charge an upfront hardware fee and has a low monthly service fee is ideal. It's affordable, while also giving you the security that you might need in the future.
Pro Tip: Don't Wait Too Long
There are plenty of reasons why you should transition sooner than later. First, if you transition before the December 18 2017 mandate deadline, you will be able to take advantage of the 2-year AOBRD extension. AOBRDs offer some more flexibility than ELDs, and if you get one before the mandate deadline, you can continue to use it as such until December 16 2019. However, if you don't get an AOBRD before the 2017 deadline, you'll miss the opportunity as vendors cannot sell them past December 18th of this year.
Another reason to start your transition now is to protect your safety score. Engine-connected logging devices automatically create clean logs, which will help you avoid violations and keep your CSA score healthy.
Finally, by December hundreds of thousands of fleets and owner-operators will also need to have an ELD solution installed. Because of this, there have been concerns in the market that demand could exceed supply as the year goes on. Securing an ELD solution now will ensure that you have one in time to be compliant with the mandate.
How BigRoad Can Help
BigRoad's DashLink ELD is the #1 choice for ELD mandate compliance. Why? Because It's simple, affordable, and flexible - the way compliance should be! If you are ready to become compliant, click the Buy Now button and fill out the form to get your DashLink now!