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How electronic logging devices are changing the trucking industry

6 Ways Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Are Changing the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry has always been an essential part of the American economy, helping to move materials and products around the country. But in recent years, technological advancements like digital freight matching have begun to reshape how this key industry operates. 

One significant development that’s having a big impact is Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). By connecting directly to a truck’s engine computer, ELDs allow for automated tracking of speed and location data and logging hours-of-service (HOS) compliance on long-haul trips. 

This shift has brought many changes to drivers’ jobs while also increasing safety and compliance across the board – making ELDs one of the most important developments in modern trucking history.

What Are Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)?

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are sophisticated pieces of technology that enable commercial vehicle drivers to log driving time and hours of service (HOS) automatically and record engine, movement, and mileage data. 

6 Ways Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Are Changing the Trucking Industry

This data is invaluable to fleet managers, dispatchers, and free load boards. It provides a real-time picture of the driver’s status, ensuring that the fleet complies with industry requirements and assuring inspection adherence. Investing in an ELD for your fleet can significantly streamline business operations.

How Are ELDs Changing the Trucking Industry?

Let’s explore some ways ELDs are changing the trucking industry. 

1. Enhanced Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of using electronic logging devices is their ability to automate many of the duties connected with tracking and recording service hours. It saves time for drivers and dispatchers, resulting in improved efficiency overall. 

In addition, by eliminating manual processes like filling out paper logs or manually entering data into spreadsheets, ELDs can help reduce errors and discrepancies and streamline operations for fleets of any size. 

2. Increased Road Safety

Another advantage of using ELDs is that they can aid in the prevention of fatigue-related accidents by tracking and recording a driver’s hours of service. 

The ELD provides an accurate record of when a driver began driving, how long they were driving for, how long they rested between shifts, and more. Companies can use this information to ensure that drivers are following regulations and taking necessary rest breaks throughout their work day.

6 Ways Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Are Changing the Trucking Industry

3. Cost Cutting Opportunities 

In addition to improving safety and efficiency, electronic logging devices can also assist in lowering gasoline expenditures by providing real-time data on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. 

By analyzing this data, fleet managers can determine which routes are most efficient or identify areas where companies could reduce fuel consumption by changing driving habits or practices. It helps fleets save money on fuel costs while reducing their environmental impact using fewer resources.

4. Real-Time Data 

One of the most significant benefits of using an ELD is that it provides real-time data regarding a driver’s location and progress. Companies can use this information to manage delivery schedules better and keep customers updated on when they can expect their shipments to arrive. 

This aspect helps improve customer satisfaction by informing them of any delays or changes in arrival times and gives them peace of mind of knowing exactly where their shipment is at all times. 

5. Increasing HOS Compliance 

Another benefit of using ELDs is that it increases adherence to HOS regulations. Hours Of Service (HOS) restrictions are in place to ensure truck drivers spend only a little bit of time behind the wheel, as weariness can play a significant role in truck accidents.

Before electronic logging devices, truck drivers had to track their HOS using paper logs manually. Paper logs were prone to errors and could easily falsify them. 

With an ELD, however, drivers must enter all relevant information electronically, making it easier for companies or carriers who make use of free load boards to monitor compliance with HOS regulations. It helps keep tired drivers off the road and creates a safer environment for everyone involved. 

6. Reducing Paperwork 

In addition to increasing safety and improving customer service, electronic logging devices reduce paperwork for drivers and employers alike.

Before the implementation of these devices, truckers had to manually fill out paper logs detailing their service hours for each trip they took—a time-consuming process and often prone to errors or inaccuracies due to human error or fatigue. 

With electronic logging devices, however, this task is automated, so there is no need for manual data entry. All relevant information automatically gets entered into the device’s database as soon as a GPS signal or other source receives it. 

It makes it easier for drivers and employers alike to manage their paperwork efficiently while ensuring accuracy every step of the way.

6 Ways Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Are Changing the Trucking Industry

What Is the New ELD Mandate?

The new ELD mandate is a law requiring the installation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial vehicles starting in 2019. These devices’ purpose is to track drivers’ duty status and location digitally and improve road efficiency and safety standards. 

The mandate has been controversial since its passage in 2012, with detractors arguing that it hinders independent contractors and small businesses while providing limited benefits compared to its cost. 

However, certain exemptions came into play for transporters of food and fuel, livestock feed, and COVID relief supplies, enabling transporters to operate without ELDs until May 2022. 

Although the current mandate has faced numerous criticisms, its goal of safer roads remains highly valued by many proponents who feel that ensuring drivers follow proper procedures could save lives on highways across the country.

Can Truckers Still Use Paper Logs?

Yes, truckers can still use paper logs. Despite the introduction of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track truckers’ service hours, paper logs still get used in certain situations. If a driver’s ELD malfunctions, they may then opt to use paper logs to record their work data accurately. 

While this option may seem outdated or inefficient compared to its electronic counterparts, using manual data is also an effective way to demonstrate compliance with regulations.


Electronic logging devices are changing the trucking industry by making it more efficient and giving drivers more flexibility. They also offer other benefits, such as real-time tracking of hours driven and location, especially when using free load boards. In addition, the mandate to use ELDs will improve road safety and reduce commercial vehicle accidents.

The Heavy-Duty Parts Report is your source for the newest tech in the trucking industry. Check out our article on an Amazon experience for buying heavy-duty parts and the new Uber for roadside repairs.

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Author: Jamie Irvine

Jamie Irvine is the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and a consultant that works with manufacturers, distributors, and SaaS companies serving the heavy-duty truck parts industry.


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