Hardwired vs Bluetooth
Many carriers treat ELDs as a cost. However, reliable ELD solutions are about more than the price per unit – these devices are an investment in your fleet.
Lost connectivity can result in thousands of dollars in HOS violations. Without a reliable connection, compliance red flags may be raised or business opportunities delayed while sorting out connectivity issues.
Plenty of carriers purchased the most affordable ELD they could find just to get compliant ahead of the mandate deadline. However, these devises have frequently produced lost connectivity issues. Consider an upgrade by looking at these three key areas.
How do I know if I am experiencing ELD lost connectivity?
The FMCSA is pretty clear on instances of lost connectivity. Bluetooth connected ELDs are susceptible to being unexpectedly unpaired, and it is up to the driver to make sure the connection is active while they are on a haul. A driver survey conducted in 2018 showed nearly 1 in 4 drivers complaining about dropped connections when relying on a wireless device.
Most phone and tablet-based ELDs rely on a single carrier network for communication. We see it all the time where team members carry several cell phones because one works in one area, while another does not. This isn’t an option for your fleet management and compliance solution, particularly if you are running ELD on mobile devices. Depending on where your fleet operates, gaps in coverage can range from a mild nuisance to a critical issue impacting compliance, safety, and operations.
This is why it is important to test any ELDs you are considering before implementing them across your fleet. Driver training should focus on how to avoid accidental drops by, for example, moving out of Bluetooth range with a device in hand. In some cases, moving back into range does not guarantee that an ELD mobile app fires back up in time to keep a driver in compliance. If using a cellphone, or app-based solution, drivers also need to remember to keep their device charged/powered so they may show their logs during a roadside inspection.
What are the risks associated with ELD lost connectivity?
HOS violations can rack up, no matter the reason for a dropped connection. If a driver has to take time to explain during an inspection that their device was not working properly, that is time not spent driving. Lost connectivity may open the driver up to more questions and a closer inspection of logs to make sure they are annotated correctly and there aren’t any discrepancies in the data and the driver’s story.
Drivers may feel uneasy struggling against shoddy connectivity. Driver coaching works best when data from their work is accurate, so bad connections can make it tricky to train new drivers.
Office staff may have to dedicate large blocks of time to correcting RODS due to connectivity errors. This rework time hurts twofold: the payroll hours used to fix the issue, and the time spent away from work that ought to be spent securing new routes, bringing on new customers or otherwise adding value to your fleet.
The impacts of lost connectivity go beyond driver irritation. They impact your overall business operations. A few of the most common issues are:
- inability to accurately locate vehicles in real-time
- frustration for enforcement and drivers during roadside when transfers don’t work
- potential issues with logs not being current during roadside inspections
- inability to ensure on-time performance
- inability to rescue loads quickly and easily
How do I resolve ELD lost connectivity issues?
Reliable, hardwired ELDs like Monarch Tracking’s, clear these concerns right up. By using an in-cab technology that connects to multiple carrier networks you’ll ensure coverage in areas of spotty coverage. Plus, no additional data or third-party device costs are needed to operate these types of solutions. The driver can just get in and go.
Monarch Tracking’s ELD provides rapid location readings to ensure accurate data for compliance, tax and coaching purposes. In fact, our multi-carrier SIM service means reporting stays constant, even in rural areas where other devices struggle.