The final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) was released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2015. The new ELD regulations mandate the use of ELDs for records of duty status (RODS). And now that you know your fleet needs to comply, the next step is choosing a service provider to navigate this complicated mandate.

So how do you select the right one? Here are six must-haves in a service provider.

  1. Technology supported by an established, reputable company. It is important to select a provider that has proven technical and regulatory experience with ELDs. Choose a supplier that will be able to meet the specifications as well as future regulation changes that are expected down the road.
  2. Compliant certified before the December 2017 deadline. Most providers state either their product satisfies the ELD mandate or that it will before the mandate's compliance date of Dec. 18, 2017, through software updates as opposed to new-hardware purchases. However, you would be well-advised to ask what to expect from the system now that the mandate's specifications are publicly available.
  3. Supports all of the rule sets & exemptions your organization will require. It's important to understand the unique requirements of your fleet when it comes to technology and the ELD mandate. What works for a fleet of 100+ trucks probably isn't the best solution for a small business and vice-versa. Work with a provider that can sort out all of the nuances.
  4. Easy to use for your drivers & administrators. The drivers' use of an ELD is not optional, so you have to make sure the solution you choose is easy to use. Maybe even involve your drivers in making the final decision. You want to select a solution that's driver-friendly and meets their needs because, after all, they're the ones who are going to be using it.
  5. The opportunity to evaluate the solution without a contract. If you've narrowed it down to a few providers, it's time to see those solutions in action by requesting a live demonstration of the product or even a trial. If the provider isn't able to do this, doubt the legitimacy of their product. Any reputable vendor is happy to provide you with a demo and/or trial.
  6. Support for your organization during a deployment rollout. You need to have drivers and administrators trained and IT support in place well before the regulation goes into effect. And, your service provider should help you out with that and anything else that might go along with the ELD deployment in your fleet.

About the Author

Dan Shive serves as Vice President, Risk Management Services in LeasePlan's Chicago office. In his role, Dan serves as LeasePlan's expert in policy review/revisions and implementation of telematics and safety services. He has worked with LeasePlan for 23 years.

Dan is also active in many local and national industry organizations, such as NAFA and RIMS. He frequently serves as a speaker and subject matter expert for industry events.