Choosing The Best ELD For Your Business

There are two primary distinctions when it comes to selecting your Electronic Logging Device (ELD) solution: traditional On Board Computers; and Mobile On Board Computers.

Traditional On Board Computers (OBCs)

These are the solutions which have traditionally been installed on a truck or bus’s dashboard. There will be a basic display providing the driver with hours of service (HOS) information such as their hours driven, hours recorded, and hours remaining. This data is then transmitted to the control center, or dispatch, so that the HOS data can be assessed, monitored, and acted upon.

A basic OBC will stop there. However, OBCs are often used as a Fleet Management Solution which may incorporate aspects such as driver behavior and fleet management reporting, allowing for valuable ROI. Traditional OBCs transfer the data wirelessly using GPS and satellite technology, and thus provide near real-time information. They are the most common system we see in the US.

Mobile On Board Computers

Mobile OBCs work in much the same way as traditional OBCs with one crucial difference: they utilize smart technology and mobile data communications. This significantly reduces the cost of using OBCs and puts them in to the reach of much smaller fleets.

These systems are typically easier to install as they don’t require hard-wiring, again minimizing the set-up costs. Furthermore, they can have extended functionality, as they aren’t restricted to one dashboard. They can be used across multiple vehicles, and for important additional functionality such as Proof of Delivery signing and recording, and communications outside of the cab confines.

Good investment

The more economical ELD options will still bring additional benefits for those with less complicated needs, such as tracking hours and routes.

However, the ELDs which represent the best ROI will have certain key features which go beyond basic GPS tracking.

Other benefits of ELD solutions include driver behavior monitoring (such as recording vehicle idling to reduce fuel usage) and other fuel reducing functions; routing and dispatching functionality; simplification of International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) reporting; and driver communications.

The key features you want to look for are:

On Board Navigation

Fuel is one of a fleet-based business’s main overheads. With long-haul trucks traveling vast distances, it is essential to optimize routes in order to minimize fuel expenditure. This is not just about identifying the shortest routes, but also planning routes which avoid fuel-thirsty driving such as traffic which involves excessive idling and stop-start behavior.

Driver Behavior Management

The best ELDs allow you to monitor driver performance, optimizing fuel consumption, increasing safety, and reducing your carbon footprint. Just look at the data: aggressive driving reduces fuel efficiency by 10-40%; idling for more than one-minute wastes fuel in cost terms and for every 5 mph over 50 mph you pay an additional $0.17 per gallon on gas. By monitoring driver behavior and feeding that information back to the driver, and using it to target training, you can save money. Excellent ELDs can assess driver behavior in terms of speeding, harsh braking, idling, and more.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Reporting

Automating the IFTA reporting process will reduce human error as well as saving time and resources. Fleet-based businesses frequently find their obligations under the IFTA to be an administrative nightmare. ELDs can vastly reduce this burden, as well as minimize the threat of IFTA auditing and subsequent fines.

The above are what we consider to be the basics of a good ELD, even though they go beyond the legal necessities.

All will reduce inefficiencies and increase productivity, as well as ensure compliance.

Getting the Best ELD for Your Business

Knowing what to look for, and what is required of you, will be important as you take steps to become compliant with ELD regulations.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We are here to help you choose the
best system for your business in terms of productivity, efficiency, and compliance with the law.

About Handsfree Group

Here at the Handsfree Group we have helped transport, logistics, and fleet service clients improve the way their employees drive, communicate, and promote safety, while significantly reducing their vehicle running costs.

Our expert team does this by supplying and installing the latest market-leading vehicle technology innovations, through our nationwide USA operations.

Given this experience we know, precisely, how to tailor vehicle communication, safety, and security solutions on a case-by-case basis.

Handsfree Group support parcel delivery giants in their peak season

Specified-day delivery service pressures

Summertime US E-commerce related parcel delivery volumes increased 15% year-on-year. Next-day delivery services also reached an all-time high, accounting for 36.5% of all online orders.

This meant added pressure for parcel delivery companies on specified-day services, however, the percentage of successful on-time deliveries remains unchanged at 90%.

Essential vehicle technology for parcel delivery

With the peak holiday season around the corner, the leading US courier giants will need extra drivers and short-term rental vehicles to ensure they deliver the massive quantities of packages a day. Handsfree Group is ready with a comprehensive range of essential equipment and technology to help support safe and efficient peak on-time deliveries.

Christmas is the peak season for courier companies, and online shoppers will be expecting more than ever in parcel delivery. UPS confirmed they felt the pressure after Cyber Monday sales soared 17% last year compared to 2016, for an estimated $6.6 billion in online sales, making it the biggest online shopping day in US history.

Rugged PDA and Tablet in-vehicle solutions

It’s a given that equipping peak drivers with rugged PDA’s or Tablets such as the Motorola TC75, the Honeywell CT60 or Panasonic FZ-N1 is essential. These need to be used safely, charged and protected; when in the vehicle.

The specialist installation project team at Handsfree Group have vast experience helping parcel delivery companies through peak, with a high-quality range of PDA and tablet cradles, docking stations and dedicated mounting solutions.

What types of solution are available?

Whether you need a temporary self-install removable solution that drivers can install themselves, or a fully assisted specialized installation from our team of Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) accredited install technicians, we are ready and able to help you.

Handsfree Groups TECh range of device-specific cradles and docking stations are designed to be heavy duty and durable. All solutions are specified with safe charging and secure device docking.

What high-quality assurances should I look for?

The TECh range of cradles boast LED Power Indicators across the range, so the driver is assured their PDA or tablet is charging, an internal voltage clamp which prevents over-voltage to the device and an internal voltage regulator which ensures consistent output voltages are maintained.

Each cradle and docking station mounting screw fastens into a precision brass bolt, which is fixed during injection moulding for maximum strength. The six locating bolts mount to the supplied backplate which then attaches securely to a steel chassis for a rigid and accurate fit.

A locating ’pin’ ensures the device cannot be inserted incorrectly and multiple security bolts provide added strength. An internal auto-reset switch prevents any risk of a short-circuit across pins and the tamper-proof screws, with anti-vibrate and shake-proof washers, ensure the device remains secure when the vehicle is in motion.

For self-install cradle solutions, the mounting plate is securely fitted to the vehicle using a high-quality suction cup, which attaches to the vehicle’s windshield.

Contact us

To discuss these products or any other requirements please contact us and speak to our expert team.

FleetGuardian® – Prevent Distracted Driving

The Statistics

9 people in the U.S. are killed each day as a result of road traffic accidents involving a distracted driver, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Driving is a daily activity for many and before the arrival of mobile phones, people would concentrate solely on the job at hand – driving.  Now, there are 3,287 deaths each day due to fatal car crashes and on average, 9 of these daily fatalities are related to distracted driving. The sad thing is that these deaths are all preventable.

 

Safeguard Your Fleet

Distracted driving is a complex issue within today’s society, affecting drivers across all age groups and all vehicle types. Approximately 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours, creating a large potential for crashes and fatalities. For companies who run fleets of vehicles this is a major concern.

Handsfree Group have the solution. They have just become the authorized reseller for FleetGuardian® in North America.

FleetGuardian® prevents manual and visual mobile phone distractions while driving with its secure safety box, where drivers place their cell phone out of sight and reach resulting in, no texting, no holding, no reaching, no dialling – actions which all create avoidable risk. All are banned for commercial motor vehicle drivers under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.

 

Enhanced Safety for the Connected Driver

FleetGuardian® is built for the driver who needs to stay connected, and companies that are serious about safety.  

With FleetGuardian® you’ll be able to gain insight into driver mobile usage compliance. Set the goal, monitor progress, and identify both at risk and high performing drivers. FleetGuardian® delivers the power to set safety goals and identify risk through real-time driver behavior data whilst providing accurate transportation intelligence to mitigate driver risk for your company resulting in fewer costly accidents.

 

Stay Connected In Compliance

FleetGuardian® offer a bundled solution which includes a powerful Bluetooth® speakerphone, enabling drivers to answer and reject calls with simple voice commands. Keep driver workflow in compliance with all federal and state regulations with the one-button dialing feature, while the driver’s mobile phone stays out of sight and reach. Productivity doesn’t need to come at the expense of safety. Let FleetGuardian® and Handsfree Group standardize mobile communications for your entire fleet.

 

Stay connected. Stay in compliance. Stay safe while driving.

For more information on FleetGuardian® and to arrange a demo, contact Handsfree Group today.

Electric Vehicles, We Have Always Been Ready

EV’s

The electric vehicle market is experiencing record sales. The list of EV manufacturers is growing and the future of the automobile is looking to be one powered purely by electric.

As we are encouraged to start the transition to all electric vehicles, what does this mean for the future of vehicle technology?  The message from Handsfree Group is “we have always been ready”.

 

The Technology

Like with any new vehicle, no matter what is powering and turning the wheels, the technology that helps us to drive, communicate, stay safe and protect our vehicle is a high priority for most when looking to make that all important purchase.

Handsfree Group have a wealth of experience in fitting a wide range of vehicle technology solutions to EV’s that further improve the driving experience.

 

Size Does Matter

When a vehicle is purely electric, its fundamental to ensure all parts are lightweight and low current draw to ensure you get the best battery performance. Handsfree Group have a proven vehicle technology portfolio that takes all these aspects into consideration.

 

Safety

Handsfree Group have a specific range of products for Electric Vehicles, a lot of which are open cab.

For example:

  • Waterproof interior & exterior cameras.
  • Sunlight readable monitors to give better open cab visibility.
  • White noise directional motor alarms

 

Battery Management from Datalive Telematics

Handsfree Group’s Datalive division offers an EV Battery Management suite with the following features:

EV Battery Levels

  • Remotely monitor real time battery charge levels.

EV Charge Times

  • Insight to vehicles that are ready to go, or charge time remaining.

EV Battery Condition

  • View battery conditions and closely monitor units nearing end of life.

EV Battery Performance

  • Visibility of overall battery performance with end of life alerts

 

Security

Vehicle theft and the loss of valuable cargo can be disruptive for any business. It’s common knowledge that EV’s are expensive, therefore being at a high risk of theft. Handsfree Group can install a range of products that effectively deters criminals, whatever their intentions.

Datalive Tracking solutions for EV’s:

SVR (Stolen Vehicle Recovery)

  • Datalive telematics tracks a vehicle’s whereabouts so it can be recovered quickly.

Protect EV Battery theft

  • Datalive telematics can be integrated into the vehicle battery. Sudden power loss is instantly detected and alerted.

Ghost Immobiliser

  • Anti-Hijack protection so the vehicle can only be driven for a certain short distance without the driver’s key.

 

If you already own, or are thinking of purchasing a fleet of, Electric Vehicles and you would like more information on the products and services Handsfree Group can offer to improve communication, safety and security for you and your fleet, please contact us to arrange a meeting and full demonstration.

Connected products for the new Mercedes Benz Sprinter

Connected Vehicle Products

In one of our previous blogs from the UK, (New Mercedes Sprinter Van is coming…and Handsfree Group are ready for it!) we outlined the products that will even further enhance the driving experience of the new Mercedes Sprinter.  We also have a full range of connected products available from Handsfree Group for the new vans.

Datalive your new Sprinter vans

Datalive helps fleet managers improve the efficiency, protection and safety of their drivers and vehicles, while significantly improving their fleets green credentials.

We give customers the intelligence needed to optimise their fleet performance, by customising our modular vehicle data solutions to meet their exact requirements. Our experience ranges from designing fully integrated telematics solutions to basic single feature systems.

 

Datalive Telematics

Our versatile Datalive telematics solutions are modular. Our specialist team build custom systems for our customers, that meet a companies exact requirements – so we are fully prepared for the new Mercedes Sprinter fleets.

Datalive Telematics Solutions:

Live Tracking
  • improving customer response and delivery times with better MPG, improved green credentials, increased productivity and more responsible drivers, whilst eliminating unauthorised vehicle usage and reducing insurance premiums.
Geofence
  • Our team of specialists help fleet managers enhance security, improve utilisation, increase efficiency and support compliance, by setting up geofences.
Driver ID
  • Get visibility of exactly who is driving any given vehicle and their precise location. Optimise your resources, while maintaining your duty of care by using Datalive Driver ID.
Reporting
  • Reduce fuel consumption and operating costs by configuring multi-dimensional custom reports on several vehicle and driver performance aspects, through the Datalive Performance & integration reporting suite.
Remote Safety
  • Protect the welfare of vulnerable or lone workers while ensuring goods are being transported safely and correctly. Datalive monitors all driver activity and critical vehicle data. Fleet managers can easily analyse real-time or historical vehicle information.
Communication
  • Deliver timely information to drivers in an efficient, responsible and legally compliant way. Working together, Datalive telematics and in-vehicle onboard diagnostics can report highly accurate information about the performance of your drivers, vehicles and their engines.
Efficiency Reporting
  • Maximise the efficiency of any driver and vehicle over a specified timeframe, by using the Datalive Telematics customisable reporting suite.
Driver behaviour
  • Manage risk, and fulfil your ‘duty of care’ obligations for drivers. The Datalive driver behaviour module scores driving style and identifies those people driving efficiently.
  • Monitor aggressive or defensive driver styles of individuals or group with applied risk scoring.
  • Datalive driver behaviour provides you with the information you need to target training precisely where it is required, as well as reward and encourage safe driving.

Datalive – Fleet Management Tools

Fleet Management Tools from Datalive helps operators diagnose and report any issues that may impact transport efficiency, by checking vehicle compliance and recording critical fleet management information

Comprising of an extensive app and configurable I.T solution, Fleet Management Tools effectively helps fleet managers perform the audits and checks necessary to ensure a safe and optimised operation.

Datalive’s fleet management system includes defect reporting, vehicle check, fleet check and depot audits.

Fleet Management Tools Solutions:

Defect report tool
  • App on Android and IOS to help fleet operators keep on top of vehicle technology and equipment. Defects on vehicles are often overlooked because it can be timely to report a problem or defect. This app makes it simple.
Vehicle check tool app
  • Designed to eliminate paperwork. Now fleet managers can be sure that all vehicles are checked on a daily basis. Safety and damage checks set daily and alerted if not completed. The app will not allow a user to move to another vehicle until a full 360 degree check has been completed.
Vehicle check audit tool
  • Designed for fleet managers, engineers and auditors. The App is similar to the Vehicle Check Tool, however it means any vehicle can be checked across the whole fleet and is specifically used to report on anomalies.
Depot audit tool
  • Vehicle maintenance is integral to an efficient transport operation, it’s important to check regularly that all the tools are in the right place.
  • Within the Vehicle Audit Checking, there is an additional tool for auditing the depot. This tool is an interactive electronic list of check items to inspect within the depot.

 

Get in touch to demo Datalive today!

 

New ELD Legislation

Handsfree Group Release The Ultimate Guide To ELD

Understanding Electronic Logging Devices

An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a device which is linked with the vehicle’s engine in order to automatically record important data such as driving time, in order to automate Hours of Service (HOS) recording and reporting. In many ways, an ELD can be what you think of as a basic GPS tracking device.

The use of an on-board ELD brings accuracy, reliability, and consistency to a task once rife with errors and complications. The new ELD legislation brings a much clearer definition on the format for tracking and logging.

Final Rule Legislation

If you have a fleet-based business you will need to comply with ELD law, including the newly introduced Final Rule. The Final Rule is mandated from December 18, 2017 and will be implemented over 4 years, meaning fleet-based businesses need critical insight when purchasing ELD systems.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced this Final Rule with an aim to improve US traffic safety through the use of available technology. The Rule specifically aims to improve both truck and bus drivers’ compliance with the HOS regulations which are in force to prevent fatigue-based driving errors, incidents and accidents.

The Electronic Logging Device Rule is designed to bring about a safer work environment for truck and bus drivers, as well as other road users. It is also created to allow faster and more accurate tracking, as well as sharing Records of Duty Status (RODS) data. The changes to the law apply to the majority of carriers and drivers who are currently expected to maintain RODS.

Best ELDs For Your Business

There are two primary distinctions when it comes to selecting your ELD system: Traditional On Board Computers; and Mobile On Board Computers. Handsfree Group provide an ultimate guide to purchasing the best ELD for your business.

The expert team at Handsfree Group can provide your business with market leading Electronic Logging Device advice and installation. Their fully trained team can tailor ELD solutions designing on a case by case basis, while adhering to to MECP & ELD Mandate industry standards. Handsfree Group provide project management services for the implementation of ELD and have an extensive range of ELD accessories and custom cradles / mounts made by RAM, Zirkona and Gamber Johnson.

Handsfree Group Make It Easier

Handsfree Group have experience working with SME’s and multi-million dollar organizations across North America, advising and identifying the right solutions and installing ELD systems. They have impartial fleet advice and a fully certified installation service.

Their wealth of experience from installing a comprehensive range of the easiest to use and most reliable Electronic Logging Devices for transport, logistics & fleet services clients mean their project management services help companies make a swift and perfect ELD implementation. They know, precisely, how to tailor ELD solutions on a case-by-case basis for transport, logistics and fleet service clients.

Handsfree Group’s Ultimate Guide To ELD

If you are interested in reading Handsfree Group’s ultimate guide to ELD you can access it by clicking here.