Whether you work for a large trucking fleet, or if you are an owner operator, electronic logging devices (ELDs) are now a mandatory part of the industry. However, not all ELDs are created equal. Before you drop money on an electronic logging device, there are a few things every driver and fleet owner must know.

Misconceptions About ELDs

Many people are under the impression that simply downloading an app to their smartphones and tablets is a great way to sidestep having to spend a lot on an electronic logging device. But not all apps that claim ti turn personal devices into ELDs are FMCSA compliant. There are two major points the FMCSA has handed down as requirements for electronic logging devices. First, an ELD must be connected to a trucks engine. The device must be attached to the diagnostic port on the truck to directly monitor and communicate with the engine. Second, the ELD must be certified according to the guidelines laid out by the FMCSA.

What You Need To Look For In An ELD

With the above requirements in mind, there are a few other things you need to look for when purchasing ELDs. The device needs to be able to record you hours of service. The electronic logging device must also include some sort of tracking system that can be hardwired to the engine. The device should also be able to connect wirelessly or use a Bluetooth to internet connection so that it can submit ELD records directly to the FMCSA. Now that you have the basic features in mind, we need to discuss compliance.

How To Tell If ELDs Are FMCSA Compliant

Back in March of this year, the FMCSA announced that they would not be certifying electronic logging devices. Instead, the FMCSA distributed certification requirements to ELD sellers and manufacturers to perform self-certification. As with any specialized product, there are sellers who try to cut corners, and some who flat out lie about their devices being compliant. Fortunately, the FMCSA maintains a list of officially compliant devices, so drivers and fleet owners can purchase ELDs from reputable sellers, instead of throwing money down the drain.