ExpressTruckTax Blog

Showing posts with label electronic driving logs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label electronic driving logs. Show all posts

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Look At ELDs


The trucking industry is a growing and changing business. Oftentimes new proposed rules and regulations come out in an attempt to improve the industry. Generally, people want to promote driver safety, health, and slash costs for those participating in the industry. However, sometimes these changes are met with great resistance from drivers. One example of this is the Electronic Logging Device Mandate.

Electronic Driving Devices

The Federal Electronic Logging Device or ELD Mandate is in full swing, meaning that all drivers keeping paper logs have to switch to an ELD by December 18th, 2017.

An ELD is a small device that connects to a truck’s engine in order to record the date, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, driver information, user authentication, vehicle, and motor carrier information. The device will keep detailed records of truck driver’s habits.
The purpose of ELDs is to accurately report a driver's HOS or hours of service. The will let carriers know if truckers aren’t putting in enough driving hours or if they’re putting in too many. This way detailed electronic records can be kept to prevent drivers from running over their hours. Carriers will also be prevented from pushing their drivers to work over time.

A severe problem in the trucking industry is driving tired and fatigued. Driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk and it’s very dangerous. ELDs will help to make sure that drivers get the rest they need.

The ELD Mandate does include measures to prevent ELDs from harassing drivers. Carriers can’t use them to interrupt a driver while they’re sleeping or to push a fatigued or ill driver into driving more hours. Harassment from carriers will be met with fees and penalties.

A few benefits include the fact that less paperwork will be required of drivers, and they won’t have to keep up with paper logs. Plus, ELDs will allow dispatchers to stay updated on their driver’s location, so they’ll have more accurate estimations as to when loads will be delivered.

So, Why don’t drivers like ELDs?

Truckers and fleet owners don’t want to incur the costs of installing ELDs in their rigs, even though prices have recently dropped. Some ELDs are as cheap as $150 and truckers have the option of using their smartphone or tablet as an ELD as long as they meet the requirements.

If they prevent drivers from going over HOS then truckers feel as if they’ll lose money and loads, because they won’t be able to deliver them on time. However, paper logs require you to round up 15 minutes, and ELDs don’t. With an ELD you can drive up to your very last minute for your HOS.

Drivers feel uncomfortable under heavy surveillance. They don’t want to be constantly watched. Even though ELDs only record driving habits, and don’t provide carriers with video or audio feeds, drivers still feel as if they will being monitored too closely.

No one wants to be bothered by notifications. While driving or sleeping, truckers don’t want their ELD to bother them to either drive more or to stop driving. The ELD Mandate has taken action to prevent the harassment of drivers by not allowing carriers to push them when they’re tired, or send them notifications when they sleep.

Also, most ELDS automatically know when to switch in and out of driving mode, based off of the engine's activity. In order to prevent distracted driving, some ELDs don’t send out notifications until a few minutes after trucks have come to a stop.

What Do You Think?

Here at ExpressTruckTax, we want to know what you think about ELDs. Will they improve driver safety or will they just be a hassle? Please tell us what you think in the comment section below.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#TruckTechTuesday: Onboard Truck Computers

Today’s trucks are sophisticated and state-of-the-art, much different from the simpler, older trucks they’ve grown out of. Not only do they contain the traditional engine and instrument panels, they employ modern computers that monitor and control many aspects of the truck’s performance.

The onboard computers used in most trucks today are multi-function machines much like their desktop cousins. Not only can they be used to monitor truck conditions and driver behavior, as older computers in trucks mainly did, today’s truck computers can be used to communicate between driver and back office, and even used by drivers to run applications and access the internet.

Electronic Driving Logs

Electronic driving logs are perhaps the most obvious application for these computers. These logs will become mandatory in all trucks by December 2017, according to a ruling by the U.S. Department of Transportation released December 10th. And significantly, a provision of this ruling states that these logs can not be used to harass drivers. This means that electronic logs can potentially be of benefit to both trucking companies and drivers, in that the companies will be able to track driver data, but drivers will be protected by the law from companies abusing the use of these logs.

Monitoring Engines

Onboard truck computers are also used to monitor truck engines and communicate data from the engine with either the driver, the back office, or both. The data can range from diagnostic trouble codes, to routine maintenance needed, to extreme conditions in the engine not caught by the codes. This can often mean the difference between a routine service stop and a blown engine.


Communications between the truck, driver, and the back office regarding other important information take place with the use of these computers as well. Some of these messages are in place of conversations that might normally occur over a cell phone. Since the screens for these onboard computers are often placed on the truck’s dashboard right in the driver’s view, using the computer for these communications can be much safer than cell phone exchanges.

Driver Use

A more recent feature of onboard truck computers is the ability to be used by drivers for 3rd party applications that might monitor other aspects of the truck. These computers are much like the desktop computer most people use, all the way down to internet access. This gives off-duty drivers a convenient way to surf the web, so that they won’t need to use up costly data on their cell phones.

ExpressTruckTax keeps you up to date on the latest in the trucking world, just like we make your life easier by simplifying your HVUT filing process. Contact us by phone at 704.234.6005 or by email any time at

We’re anxious to hear about your experiences with onboard computers. Tweet at us on Twitter or post on our Facebook page anything you think would be helpful for The Trucking Nation to know about onboard computers. Your input helps us to make sure we’re serving you the best we can.

Friendly Reminder:

Don’t forget the IRS’s e-filing system will be down for yearly maintenance from Dec 26th until some time during the 1st week in January (The IRS hasn’t specified the exact date the system will be back up yet). So if you’re using ExpressTruckTax to e-file and your Form 2290 needs to be in by December 31st, to be safe, you should e-file by December 23rd.

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E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.