Power, Consolidated: 5 Benefits of Combining Telematics with ELDs

Posted by Stacey Papp

When a phrase is too long to speak or type out, we turn it into something else: an acronym, a useful little thing that has been around for a long time. You may already know that some actual words have come out of them, like Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, which used to be SCUBA in all caps and now is just “scuba.” 

There are even some weird acronyms-turned-words we’d bet money you didn’t know were originally abbreviations. For example, after World War II, a newly formed humanitarian agency called the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE – get it?) began sending food relief to a war-torn Europe – a CARE package. Now we think of “care packages” as what moms send their kids who are away at college (at least until they see pictures on Facebook of their sweet little babies playing beer pong).

There’s another type of acronym called an “initialism,” which is when you pronounce each letter in the acronym, like “FBI.” And we’ll bet there is one initialism you’ve been hearing a heck of a lot recently: ELD.

The ELD rule, or the electronic logging device rule, goes into effect one year from now – December 2017 – which means it’s time to get serious about it.

But don’t think of this as a negative. Think of this as a way to improve your business – and combining telematics solutions with ELD offers 5 benefits:

1: Hours of service (HOS) compliance: ELDs can help a driver run e-logs in a much more compliant fashion. By using technology tied to the vehicle and following regulations, drivers can reduce three of the top five finable areas: not having logs, or out-of-date logs; driving hours over their daily allowance; and errors. 

Telematics software gives drivers peace of mind when driving up to an inspection and can get them in and out quickly, and without the potential risk of a fine. That will help reduce violation costs, saving $$$.

2: Near Real-time driver feedback: When last-minute jobs come up, tools like GPS tracking apps help a dispatcher find the driver nearest to the jobsite. The dispatcher can send the location directly to the field app and get the driver turn-by-turn directions. These capabilities can help you win business and get drivers to jobs quickly and efficiently. 

3: In-cab safety solutions: Technology can help monitor distracted driving and measure metrics, taking a proactive approach to safety and road metrics. This helps fleet managers stay on top of the best – and worst – drivers to help improve efficiency. 

Good drivers can be rewarded through incentive programs, which can help employee retention, while drivers who need to shape up can get extra coaching. And because these tools discourage bad driving habits like speeding, they can help save money by preventing wear and tear on vehicles and reducing fuel consumption. 

Also, while ELDs have been proven to reduce driver crash rates by 11.7 percent, according to the Center for Truck and Bus Safety of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, in the unfortunate event of a crash, ELDs and telematics combined can show whether or not the driver was speeding, braking or accelerating, potentially helping to put the driver in the clear.

4: Accurate billing and pay:
By using fleet management solutions, you can potentially gain more insight into how the business’s money is being spent. By looking at engine on/off times, you can help eliminate excessive overtime hours or timesheet fraud, which will cut costs. 

You can also monitor unauthorized use of vehicles or equipment by simply looking at where that vehicle has been and having proof of its locations and how long it’s been there. 

Reviewing telematics reports also gives insight into how long a technician was actually onsite, which provides proof of service and lets you bill accurately. 

5: Stay competitive: Reviewing your drivers’ safety scores and driver log and performance reports are vital in coaching technicians and drivers, making them feel valued while improving their performance. This will help the business retain the resources it has invested in – giving management time to focus on building the business and making more money on jobs.  

Plus, GPS tracking solutions are something you can proudly tout to customers. By telling them that your drivers can get to them quickly – even for emergency jobs – and that you can provide updates in near real time on arrival and departure time and progress of the job order as it’s updated in the mobile app, customers can rest easy, knowing that their needs will be taken care of.

So while no one likes regulations, don’t think of the ELD rule as a bad thing – look at it as a way to improve your business by adding in the power of telematics. 

And then you’ll have another acronym to add to your collection: LOL, as in what you’ll be doing all the way to the bank.

This post is not intended to provide legal advice on the ELD mandate.  Please consult a licensed professional attorney to obtain advice where appropriate. 

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