John hauls corn and soybeans and can't imagine doing anything else. Although the work is tedious and exhausting, he's motivated to find something for his company that will help streamline some of the work so he and his team can be more productive.
Because John is in a certain part of the agriculture sector, he's exempt from the dreaded Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. While many agriculture drivers don't have to use one, John has a different mindset. He decided he's going to use an ELD to help simplify his business.
Using an ELD does not always have to involve Hours of Service. All ELDs are manufactured to have an "exempt" setting. This can be enabled and other features the ELD has can still be used to keep your business running smoothly.
Let's start with the amount of work a tractor trailer does during season. Truck maintenance is one of the biggest concerns of an owner-operator's day. Making sure you or your maintenance team is keeping up with what the truck needs keeps your driver from losing driving hours because he or she is broke down on the side of the road. It's all about increasing efficiency. How would someone know if their driver did a walk around? Or if an oil change is needed asap? Having an ELD can help.
There are two ways an ELD can acquire maintenance information, with fault code readings and Daily Vehicle Inspection Records. Using the ELD as a vehicle diagnostic tool gives you valuable information regarding the engine's status. Is the truck moving? Is it idle? All of that information is now at your fingertips.
Even though an ELD doesn't have to be used for Hours of Service, and most agriculture haulers are exempt, one can still track the hours their drivers have. This makes it easier to forecast which driver you can be productive with. Who has the most hours? Who is taking a break? Who is on the road and who is headed back?
Quarterly fuel taxes have to be paid and an ELD can keep track of which state the driver is in, how many miles they have driven in it, and log their receipts. Using software with your ELD can be critical when it comes to tracking your drivers and predicting what needs to happen next. You can also use software to know when your drivers are getting loaded and watch it in real-time.
Few ELD providers also provide a way to keep track of all of the paperwork involved in the trucking industry - easily accessible to you and your drivers. The importance of document retention is a huge part of trucking that is often overlooked. Being able to save all of your paperwork in one place, while keeping it handy, is the one of the keys to minimizing the workload and maximizing the profitability of your business.
And because you're exempt from using an ELD in the first place, the driver does not have to show the DOT they have one, if the situation happens to arise.