top of page

Paper or Plastic? ...Digital

We all know that Electronic

Logging Devices (ELDs)

are in the transportation

industry’s future. It is my hope

that this article equips you to determine

your position, and in what direction are

you headed. If you feel alone, you are not.

An estimated 3.4 million truck drivers use

ELogs, according to

The electronic logging device must be

integrally synchronized with specific operations

of the commercial motor vehicle in

which it is installed. At a minimum, the

device must record engine use, road speed,

miles driven, date and time of day.

Here, we’ll answer some important

questions: Who needs to ELog? When am

I required to ELog? What other benefits are

there to ELDs? What is the best practice

to implement this change?


It might be easier to ask who is exempt.

Drivers who keep records of duty service

(RODS) in eight or fewer days of out of every

30 working days; drivers in drive-away and

tow-away operations and drivers of vehicles

manufactured before the year 2000 are

exempt. You also are exempt if you fall into

the short haul 150-air mile radiuses. This

means that if you park your truck at the

same place every night, stay within a 150

radius of your facility and your drivers work

less than 12 hours per day and less than

70 hours per week, it may not be mandatory

for the use of Electronic Logs. Sometimes

it’s harder when you do have a choice in a

matter, instead of being required to do it.


Before Dec. 18, 2017, operators can use

ELDs voluntarily or continue using paper

logs, or use devices installed with logging

software and applications or AOBRDs.

From Dec. 18, 2017 through Dec. 16, 2019,

carriers must use ELDs unless they use

Automatic On-board Recording Device

(AOBRDs) installed before Dec. 18, 2017.

After Dec. 16, 2019, all carriers must use

ELDs. If you use ELDs before Dec. 18, 2017,

keep documentation in the vehicle; this

documentation is mandatory beginning

Dec. 18, 2017. Retaining ELD data and

backup data on separate systems is mandatory

beginning Dec. 18, 2017. The data

must be retained for at least six months.

Secure storage of all data and backups to

protect driver privacy. Harassment protection

takes effect as soon as you begin

using ELDs. Do not pressure a driver to take

action that results in an Hours of Service

(HOS) violation or to drive when ill or

fatigued. Carriers are subject to a penalty

for harassment as well as the penalty for

the HOS violation.

There are many companies that will be

happy to provide you with this service at

a small, convenient fee. Some of these

include JJ Keller, Big Road and Nextraq.

The two I have dealt personally are Big

Road and Nextraq. Big Road has an app

that will allow you to digitally track your

driving and produce a database for your

logs. In fact, if you are an independent

driver you can use their app with no fees.

Using this free option could be a good way

for your drivers to keep their own personal

logs. If, however, you are in the group with

employed drivers, there is a free trial period

so that you can test out the software prior

to contracting with them. Nextraq has

informative YouTube video demonstrations

for your research and training.

Now, for the nickels and dimes of your

costs and savings. If you have put in the

time, and know how long it takes to review

a log, correct a log, track driver hours of

service, denote needed repairs and verify

document changes and you multiplied that

number times your loaded labor rate, then

you know your costs. I tip my hat to you.

For those who have not, most providers will

give you ballpark estimates. Big Road possible

savings can be more than $30,000 per

year. This includes reduced HOS log audit

fees and fines, elimination of expensive

road-side faxing, faster, compliant vehicle

inspections, better truck route planning,

elimination of expensive GPS hardware

and prevention of form and manner errors.

Nextraq’s online calculator for 10 vehicles

is estimated at $5,677.50 per month. That

would be $68,130 per year. These savings

include extra billing, wages saved and fuel

savings. These refer more to other fleet

needs, but you get the idea.

Retaining ELD data and backup data on separate systems is

mandatory beginning Dec. 18, 2017. The data must be retained for at least 6 months

24 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page