KeepTruckin Blog - Electronic Logs and Fleet Management Software for Drivers..
KeepTruckin gives your drivers a free and easy to use mobile application to record their logs on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device. KeepTruckin is on a mission to improve the efficiency and profitability of America's trucking industry by building great technology products for truck drivers and fleet managers.
Although ELDs were introduced to enforce hours-of-service compliance, these devices offer much more than that. Electronic logging devices provide valuable data and insights into a fleet’s operations. Fleet managers can use that ELD data to boost efficiency, reduce operational costs, and increase profitability.
Following are five ways you can use ELD data to minimize cost and increase profit.
Since an electronic logging device is connected to the engine of the vehicle, it can automatically record excessive idling and present that information in the web dashboard.
Research from the Department of Energy shows that the trucking industry wastes 6 billion gallons of fuel due to idling. Not only can idling negatively impact carriers’ revenues, it is an irresponsible practice that also results in exhaust emissions which harm the environment.
The KeepTruckin ELD Plus has a robust idle time tracking feature that allows fleet managers to identify drivers who idle for too long or too frequently. They can also view the vehicle utilization rates for the entire fleet or break it down by vehicle, driver, or terminal groups.
KeepTruckin also tracks start time, duration, location, and fuel consumed. By using this data, fleet managers can quickly identify drivers who require coaching.
Improving vehicle utilization and putting a stop to idling can significantly improve the bottom line of the company.
2. Improve safety with driver safety scores
ELDs can also give you valuable insights into how safe your drivers are.
For instance, the KeepTruckin ELD monitors poor driving practices and detects critical safety events, such as hard braking, hard acceleration, hard cornering, and speeding. Safety scores are then calculated for each driver in the fleet.
This data allows fleet managers to quickly identify and coach high-risk drivers, which reduces the likelihood of accidents and liabilities, and improve the overall safety of the fleet.
A safer fleet means fewer accidents and lawsuits, a better CSA score, more business opportunities, and higher profits.
Detention time pertains to situations in which the driver is delayed at the point of pickup or delivery for more than the normal timeframe. Detention may cause the driver to lose legal driving hours, miss the next load, and lose revenue.
With electronic logging devices, fleets can have complete visibility. Because ELDs have built-in GPS tracking, fleet managers can easily monitor every activity, including when a driver reached his destination. With the help of breadcrumbs and location history, carriers and drivers are in a much better position to win detention time disputes. With real-time GPS and hours-of-service visibility, fleet managers can also plan trips more effectively — which leads to reduced operational cost and higher profits.
4. Higher driver retention rates
As mentioned in the previous point, KeepTruckin provides detailed insights and reports on driver performance and safety scores. Fleet managers can use this data to structure a performance-based reward system that incentivizes and encourages safe driving as well as improve driver happiness and driver retention rates.
In addition to monetary rewards, companies can also employ other motivational techniques, such as formal recognition, trucker of the month programs, gift cards, and extra vacation days to increase driver motivation and driver happiness.
With the help of a capable electronic logging device, fleets can also improve vehicle maintenance and catch potential issues before they become major problems.
A feature-rich electronic logging device, such as the KeepTruckin ELD solution, can automatically monitor fault codes through its direct connection to on-board vehicle diagnostics.
By looking into previous data and historical fault code reports, you can identify recurring issues that need the most attention. The KeepTruckin ELD solution automatically flags recurring solutions so you can catch important issues faster.
Smart fleet managers are using ELD data to improve fleet operations, reduce administrative burden, increase effectiveness, and earn more profit.
The KeepTruckin ELD Plus solution has all the features a fleet manager need to use ELD data and improve the way a fleet operates.
The KeepTruckin ELD Plus is FMCSA-compliant and starts at just $30 per month. You can buy it online in just a few clicks.
The first quarter of 2018 has been much better in terms of revenue and net income for owner-operators.
According to ATBS — the largest owner-operators’ service firm — owner-operators across all trucking segments earned more income in the first quarter of 2018 than they did in the same period last year.
The market has seen a considerable hike in earnings of flatbed trucks, dry vans, and reefer haulers during Q1 2018, especially when compared to the same period last year.
Here is the breakdown of earnings (net income), revenue, and mileage of different types of truckers during the first quarter of this year.
1. Flatbed operators
Flatbedders had been the highest earners in 2017; the trend continued in 2018. During the first quarter this year, flatbedders earned, on average, $17,328.
The average amount ($17,328) is an increase of $2,100 compared to the first quarter of 2017. However, it is a minor dip from the net income in the final quarter of the last year, in which flatbed operators earned $18,875.
Revenue for flatbed operators in the first quarter this year is $41,421, which is $5000 up from same period last year.
Mileage for flatbedders during Q1 2018 was flat at 22,498.
2. Dry van operators
During the first quarter of 2018, dry van operators earned $15,195. It is an increase of $1000 from Q1 2017.
Revenue for dry van operators was $38,299, which was an increase from the first quarter of 2017. However, the average revenue was a hundred dollars down from Q4 2017.
Like flatbed, mileage for dry van operators was flat at 29,924.
3. Reefer haulers
In comparison to flatbedders and dry van operators, reefer haulers didn’t perform as well. They earned $12,671 in Q1 2018 — which is, however, an increase of $1,100 from what they earned during Q1 2017.
The revenue calculated for reefer haulers in the first quarter is $39,713. It is $3,300 higher from the same period last year (Q1 2017).
Mileage for reefer haulers was recorded at 29,924, a decrease from Q1 2017 and Q4 2017.
Because of increased freight demand and tight capacity, rates are rising. Truckers who are in compliance with different rules and regulations are in a much better position to get more contracts and increase their earnings.
The ELD mandate became effective on December 18, 2017; it has been almost seven months. However, even now not all the industry stakeholders fully understand how they should operate in the post-ELD world.
Much of the buzz focuses on the impact of the ELD mandate on truck drivers. What is rarely talked about, however, are the effects of the ELD rule on shippers.
Why shippers should care about the ELD mandate
While truckers are already aware of the pros and cons of ELDs, some shippers are still unsure about tackling the ELD mandate.
The primary purpose of ELDs is to track a driver’s hours-of-service with pinpoint accuracy. This eliminates the possibility for drivers to drive more than their hours of service. Shippers need to understand how to make necessary adjustments to accommodate drivers in the post-ELD era where HOS records cannot be fudged.
Apart from the strict enforcement of hours-of-service, another issue that demands your attention as a shipper would be the detention time — the time a driver waits at a pick-up location or point of delivery beyond the free time agreed upon.
According to a study by the Department of Transportation in 2015, U.S. truck drivers lose between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion a year due to detention time. The driver’s crash rate also increases by more than 6% for each 15-minute delay.
With electronic logs in the picture, shippers need to be more prudent with their drivers’ time.
Thanks to the built-in GPS sensor, breadcrumb location history, and HOS tracking features that most ELDs have, drivers are now equipped to provide irrefutable data on how long they were delayed at a loading dock.
What should shippers do?
The ELD mandate is about enforcing hours-of-service rules and increasing safety for everyone. This forces both truckers and shippers to take the possibility of violations more seriously, which can result in capacity limits, delayed delivery times, and higher rates.
The ELD mandate can be seen as an opportunity for shippers to identify which carriers are worth working with. Carriers who see ELDs as assets, in particular, are more likely to have strategies to optimize their fleet’s efficiency using the technology.
Whenever possible, approach your carrier and propose to work together when it comes to issues that may cause delays. These include severe weather conditions, time schedules, traffic congestion, route optimizations, and so on.
If a carrier isn’t willing to discuss these matters with you, or if they seem oblivious to the importance of these factors in the post-ELD world, then you’re most likely better off working with other carriers.
Additionally, as a shipper, you also need to do your part in maximizing your drivers’ hours-of-service if you want to keep your costs down. One example is to prevent detention time using the following tips:
Contact and inform the warehouse beforehand regarding the free detention period.
Keep your forklifts in good working order to properly and punctually load trucks.
Have warehouse staff working in shifts to enable trucks to be loaded through lunch breaks.
See to it that the load is ready to be shipped before booking the freight.
Your goals as a shipper can be summarized into three things: optimizeyour loading process, have a more driver-friendly schedule, and respect the rules that ELDs are designed to protect. Do all three, and you should have no problem keeping your business operations in high gear.
One consequence of the ELD mandate is the introduction of unidentified drive time. The ELD mandate requires ELDs to record all drive time, meaning that an ELD records all events, even if the driver is not connected to it. Sifting through each unidentified event, assigning, and annotating them, create added work for fleet managers. This may seem like a simple workflow, but looking through each event and determining the right driver can become time-consuming very quickly.
We wanted to streamline this review process so that fleet managers can spend more time managing their fleet and less time managing unidentified drive time. We are excited to introduce an improved experience for managing unidentified driving time through the Assign & Annotate feature.
First, we’re giving fleet managers the ability to annotate any event, whether it is assigned or not. Fleets can then annotate the unidentified driving events instead of going through each one and assigning it. This removes the need to wait for drivers to approve the edits or log in as a yard move account to accept them. You can annotate these events easily, so you don’t have to worry about them again.
Assigning events can be cumbersome, taking more time than needed to put drive time correctly onto a driver’s log. It’s hard to ensure that your driver’s hours of service are always correct and up-to-date when there are unidentified driving events. Now when you go to the driving event, you can quickly see the drivers who connected to the ELD before and after the event, and choose the driver. With one-click assignment, it will keep all the unidentified events in order, so you don’t have to spend more time sorting through events.
Driving Event Status
Keeping track of all the driving events for your fleet can be difficult. Knowing which events have been assigned, which events have been annotated, and which events you still need to review, can create confusion. Instead of clicking through every event to figure it out, you are now able to see the status of every event from the main ‘Driving Events’ screen. You’ll know exactly which events are pending approval, accepted, or still need to be reviewed.
We know managing your fleet can be challenging, and we’re here to help! The improved Assign and Annotate feature will help you more easily manage unidentified driving events.
Do you have any questions for us about this feature? Our 24/7 support team can be reached at 1-855-434-ELOG and is happy to help.
The ELD mandate has been in effect for more than six months now. Even though many drivers and carriers have become familiar with electronic logging devices, many carriers are still not entirely sure whether they should have a hardwired ELD or a BYOD (bring your own device) solution. A BYOD electronic logging solution has plenty of benefits for fleets of all sizes.
These are five BYOD benefits that you won’t find in a hardwired ELD system.
The benefits of BYOD
1. Flexibility and familiarity
By having your drivers bring their own smartphones, you are leveraging devices that they are already familiar with. This level of familiarity and comfort may help minimize errors and simplify the onboarding process for drivers that have never used an ELD before.
Since the app is on the driver’s phone, you can also take advantage of other accompanying apps, such as document scanning and route management. Apps give drivers more flexibility and may be more cost-effective, which brings us to our next point.
2. Cost efficiency
A BYOD-ELD system costs considerably less than a hardwired dash-mounted ELD solution.
The average cost of a standalone ELD may be anywhere from $165 to $832. However, BYOD ELD solutions are cheaper because you are not paying for the device. Instead, the driver is using his/her smartphone.
Additionally, you can also download the electronic logbook app and give it a try before shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars.
For instance, drivers can download the KeepTruckin Electronic Logbook App for free from Google Play Store (Android) or Apple iTunes Store (iPhones) and try it on their smartphones. This would give them the opportunity to check out the app, review its features, and determine whether or not it has everything their fleet needs. All of this is possible without purchasing the hardware.
Additionally, most hardwired, legacy ELD providers also bind their users in long contracts that are expensive as well as restrictive. Upgrading old hardwired systems can also be costly.
Integrations and add-on applications are also usually limited in proprietary, hardwired ELD units. Mobile-based ELD solutions offer countless combinations of cost-efficient applications that drivers can use based on their preferences and requirements.
3. Easy-to-use and driver friendly
Not all drivers are tech-savvy.
According to the American Trucking Associations, the average age of truck drivers in private fleets is 52, while the average age of LTL and TL carrier drivers are 50 and 49, respectively. This is the group most familiar with using paper logs for decades. But now they are required to use electronic logging devices to record their hours-of-service and duty status information.
If they have to do it through hardwired ELD units that have their own unfamiliar user-interface, it may add unnecessary friction to the process. It can lead to driver unhappiness and may also negatively affect driver retention and driver turnover rates.
4. Easy to install and uninstall
ELD solutions that do not rely on a dedicated hardwired device are easier to install and uninstall.
When owner-operators leave, they return the ELD. However, with a hardwired, legacy ELD solution, the process to uninstall, reinstall, and set up a new driver can take a few hours. A BYOD-ELD system such as KeepTruckin is faster and only takes a few minutes to reassign to another driver.
You can’t take a hardwired ELD unit outside the of the truck.
That is no restriction when you are using a BYOD ELD solution. You can grab your smartphone and go out of the vehicle for DVIRs and to take pictures. Your data is always with you.
Not all BYOD solutions are perfect
Not all BYOD ELD solutions are perfect, though. There are a few disadvantages, e.g., privacy concerns and data consumption.
For instance, a driver who comes to work with his own smartphone may not want a DOT inspector to look at information that is not related to driving. In a BYOD ELD solution, drivers would also need a good data plan to keep the ELD and the smartphone connected. Who would pay for the driver’s mobile data? Another concern is that the cost of mobile data can rise sharply if a BYOD solution consumes a lot of data every month.
At KeepTruckin, we understand these challenges. Therefore, we have designed the KeepTruckin ELD solution that uses only a small amount of data every month (250-350 MB of data p/m) and also safeguards private information on the driver’s smartphone.
When a driver hands his devices to a DOT inspector, he can view extra information on the driver’s smartphone, e.g., messages between drivers and fleet managers or driving records that are over eight days.
The DOT Inspection Mode Access Lock feature in the KeepTruckin App allows drivers to lock the app and prevent access to sensitive information when their smartphones are handed over to DOT inspectors. All information not related to driving, such as messages and documents, won’t be visible to the DOT officer.
The KeepTruckin Electronic Logbook App — which is a key component of our BYOD-based ELD solution — is the highest-rated app on Google Play Store and Apple iTunes (4.8 stars rating and 18,000+ reviews).
According to Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s CEO and President, the association is “puzzled and disappointed” by the FMCSA’s decision to deny the ELD exemption request.
In the original request, the associated stated that “the exemption would not have any adverse impacts on operational safety, as motor carriers and drivers would remain subject to the [hours-of-service] regulations.”
The fact that FMCSA has denied OOIDA’s request further proves that the Agency is fully committed to electronic logging devices. Recently, the FMCSA also released data on how the ELD mandate has improved hours-of-service compliance, which further emphasizes the importance of ELDs. Check out the following infographic for more details.
The FMCSA is fully committed to electronic logging devices, and the ELD mandate is here to stay. If you are without a compliance ELD solution, try KeepTruckin.
After three months of a limited search option available at the National Registry of Certificate Medical Examiner’s website, broader search functionality has returned to the NRCME.
Earlier, when the system was pulled offline, drivers were unable to search for a certified medical examiner. In March, a limited search tool was added that allowed drivers to search for medical examiners via zip code. Now, drivers can search for examiners using their names, registry numbers, business, and zip code.
Apart from the broader search functionality, medical examiners can now also upload the results of DOT physicals. After the system was taken offline, examiners were forced to backlog exam results.
It is important to note that the NRCME website is not fully functional at this stage. According to the FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne, the agency is “diligently working to return full functionality to the National Registry Website.”
He also added that “while progress is steadily being made, it is not possible to speculate at this time when that complete functionality will be restored.”
The NRCME is a list of medical examiners approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Commercial drivers seek their bi-annual medical certificates from the source.
The NRCME was taken down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December last year, after an unsuccessful hacking attempt.
The hacking attempt was unsuccessful. According to authorities, no driver’s or examiner’s personal data was compromised. However, the site was taken down for safety precautions.
In March 2018, a limited search tool was added to the site that allowed drivers to search for medical examiners using zip codes. Broader search functionality is now available to help drivers quickly find certified medical examiners by using their names, registry numbers, business, and zip code.
In a recent webinar by FTR, analysts predicted that both spot market and contract rates would continue to remain high throughout 2018.
Ever since the implementation of the ELD mandate, the trucking industry has been experiencing a record-tight truck market and extraordinarily high rates. According to FTR analysts, the situation is expected to remain the same at least until the end of this year.
“Rates are not going to be going down probably for the next year. They are high and headed higher,” says Avery Vise, Vice President of Trucking Research for FTR.
According to the latest data, reefer’s per-mileage average — after gaining momentum in April — has increased by 21 cents in June, pushing its per-mile rate to $3.02 per mile. Van rate has jumped up to $2.73 per mile, which is a 35-cent increase in the last three months. Flatbed’s per-mile average has also jumped up to $2.88 per mile. It’s a 55-cent increase from the same month in 2017.
Driver shortage and the prevailing market conditions for shippers are some of the other points that Avery Vise discussed in FTR’s State of Freight webinar. Co-hosting the webinar was senior transportation analyst Todd Tranausky.
Spot market and contract rates are highly dependent on the available capacity. If the demand for freight outweighs the supply of trucks and capable drivers, rates increase, which is the case right now.
“It’s really just a very tight market,” says Vise. “There’s a lot more freight than capacity.”
The 2018 Transportation Spotlight Report surveyed 1,000 executives and managers and sought their opinions on how they are planning to solve the driver retention problem. Here are the results of the survey:
61% respondents told that they intend to invest in retention programs.
58% think initiating training and development programs will help.
54% believe in increasing follow-up communication.
53% want to employ non-monetary tactics such as driver appreciation programs.
42% think that they can retain drivers by increasing their pay.
40% want to give performance bonuses a shot.
Apart from these ideas, having the right ELD solution would also help you significantly in your efforts to retain good drives. An ELD that isn’t user-friendly or compliant will negatively affect drivers.
If you are looking for a feature-rich, compliant, and reliable ELD solution for your drivers, try KeepTruckin. We also have a buyout program to help you cover the cost of switching contract if you’re using another ELD provider but want to switch to KeepTruckin.
If you have any questions about the KeepTruckin ELD or the KeepTruckin buyout program, give us a call at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at email@example.com.
The primary purpose of the ELD mandate is to improve hours-of-service compliance and increase road safety.
How effective has it been so far?
Recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reveals that hours-of-service compliance has improved significantly after ELD mandate. In July and August 2017, before the implementation of the ELD mandate, up to 1.36 percent of driver inspections had at least one HOS violation. That number has gradually decreased ever since.
In January 2018, the HOS violation ratio dropped to 0.83%. In May 2018, after full enforcement of the ELD mandate, it dropped even further to just 0.64%.
The following infographic shows the trend over a span of 12 months.
ELDs also have several benefits other than compliance. For instance, ELDs provide valuable data to fleet managers that they can use to improve their operations, increase road safety, and minimize expenses. For more information on how to leverage ELD data, read the power of ELD data for fleet managers.
The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-compliant, feature-rich, and starts at just $20 per month with no additional charges. Over 500,000 drivers and 40,000 fleets use and trust KeepTruckin for their compliance, regulatory, and fleet management needs.
The Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety or HOURS Act (H.R. 6178) was introduced on June 21 by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR). The bill, if made law, would add flexibility to some hours-of-service rules and also allow the FMCSA to accelerate the formal rulemaking process for split sleeper berth options.
The American Trucking Associations is supporting the bill. In a statement, the ATA told that the bill is about “common sense hours-of-service relief and flexibility for professional truck drivers while enhancing highway safety and supply chain efficiency.”
The ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said, “Now that the trucking industry is coming into full compliance with the electronic logging mandate, the next step in improving truck safety and supply chain efficiency is to use the data these ELDs collect to make needed improvements to the underlying hours-of-service rules.”
According to Chris Spear, the ATA sees the bill as an “important legislation providing flexibility for millions of drivers while enhancing truck safety.”
The HOURS Act proposes to:
Reduce the current supporting documents burden for drivers. Currently, the ELD mandate requires drivers to maintain at least 8 supporting documents. The HOURS Act would cut that list down to only 2: one document to verify the start of a driver’s workday and the second document to verify the end of the day.
Create uniformity in the hours-of-service regulations for short-haul drivers by providing one single set of rules.
Exempt ag or livestock haulers from the hours-of-service rules within the 150 air-miles of the source of their load regardless of the state-designated harvesting or planting season.
Push forward the FMCSA’s efforts to provide flexibility in current sleeper-berth regulations.
Most commercial drivers are now using electronic logging devices. These devices provide valuable insights and data that are helping industry stakeholders identify rooms for improvement — especially in the current hours-of-service regulations.
Collin Stewart, Chairman of the American Trucking Association’s Small Carrier Advisory Committee, expressed his opinions on ELDs leading the change in current HOS rules. He said, “ELDs have made it more difficult for drivers to ‘fudge’ their logs, but have also shown where the weaknesses in the HOS rules are.”
He also added, “Many complaints associated with ELDs are really issues with the hours-of-service rules themselves.”
KeepTruckin is also playing its part in making sure that the hours-of-service rules are good for drivers and the trucking industry. Last year, we analyzed our data and identified that 75% drivers are detained at a pickup or drop-off location for 2+ hours every week. On average, a driver faces 7 extended detention events every month.
More importantly, after being detained, many drivers drive 3.5 MPH faster to make deliveries within the 14-hour limit — which is not a safe practice.
Therefore, KeepTruckin launched a petition asking the FMCSA to extend the 14-hour limit to 16 hours if drivers are detained by a shipper or receiver for more than 2 hours.
It is unlikely that the bill would be passed any time soon. However, the HOURS Act is another proof of how electronic logging devices (ELDs) are facilitating important conversations about making the necessary hours-of-service changes.
ELDs gather valuable data that lawmakers can use to determine if a particular hours-of-service rule needs to be changed. Additionally, the data that ELDs gather can also be used by fleet managers to improve their operations, increase fleet safety, and minimize operational expenses.
The KeepTruckin ELD provides all the important information that a user needs to improve the bottom line of their trucking business.
The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-compliant and the highest-rated ELD solution by drivers. Over 500,000 drivers and 40,000 fleets use and trust KeepTruckin for their compliance, regulatory, and fleet management needs.
If you have any questions about the KeepTruckin ELD, give us a call at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.