Trucker 632 Sockell

Shopping for certified ELDs? Buyer beware

May 2, 2016
Honor code determines FMCSA-compliant list, for now

"Psst, hey trucker: I've got a compliant ELD for you." While we've yet to hear of shadowy characters in a dark corner of the truck stop parking lot peddling bogus compliance tools, the possibility certainly exists: How far should you trust self-certified electronic logging device (ELD) vendors in their claim their products are compliant?

ELD companies have been able to register and self-certify their products as meeting the requirements of the ELD mandate since Feb. 16. So far, though, only a handful have registered, and the head of marketing at one ELD provider says he's already hearing about this from customers.

"People check out our product and you'll hear, 'Okay, looks great, but I'm not going to buy you until you're on the list,'" says Jon Sockell of KeepTruckin, one of the newer ELD players in the market. "All right, so does that mean they're going to go buy from someone on the list?"

There's been talk among the some ELD vendors of being first out of the gate, essentially, to certify that their products meet the guidelines. But two-and-a half months after early bird bragging rights have been available, there are only three devices registered on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) list — and where are all the well-established providers of electronic logging-type devices with their stuff?

Dotting their i's and crossing their t's, essentially—making sure the devices they market meet the requirements of the ELD mandate. That doesn't mean that unknown brands early on the list are making false claims, only that, when it comes to a choosing a tool to meet federal regulations, it's very much a matter of "buyer beware.'

"Because this is a self-certified process, you the buyer need to take some responsibility to conduct due diligence with any vendor," Sockell advises. "You'll want to come in with some of these questions."

Get the full story, including specific shopping tips, on FleetOwner.com

About the Author

Aaron Marsh

Before computerization had fully taken hold and automotive work took someone who speaks engine, Aaron grew up in Upstate New York taking cars apart and fixing and rewiring them, keeping more than a few great jalopies (classics) on the road that probably didn't deserve to be. He spent a decade inside the Beltway covering Congress and the intricacies of the health care system before a stint in local New England news, picking up awards for both pen and camera.

He wrote about you-name-it, from transportation and law and the courts to events of all kinds and telecommunications, and landed in trucking when he joined FleetOwner in July 2015. Long an editorial leader, he was a keeper of knowledge at FleetOwner ready to dive in on the technical and the topical inside and all-around trucking—and still turned a wrench or two. Or three. 

Aaron previously wrote for FleetOwner. 

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