The ELD mandate has been in effect for a while now. It is now mandatory for motor carriers and other commercial vehicles to have an ELD installed on them. The device should connect to the engine ECM and accurately log both the Hours of Service (HOS) and Record of Duty Status (RODS).
Amongst the multitude of products lining the shelves, one device really caught our eye. Big Road was already acclaimed for its e-logging app. With the ELD final rule published, they went a step further and developed their own hardware.
This article reviews the Big Road ELD to determine whether all the amazing things we have heard about it are true or not. If you are also looking for an ELD solution to become compliant, stick around, and read till the end.
Specs and Dimensions
Dimensions: 2 x 4 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 102 grams
Operating Temperature: -40° to 85°C
Type: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Connectivity: OCM, Diagnostic port, Bluetooth, and USB
OS: Compatible with Android and IOS systems
Software: Big Road Mobile App
Fleet Size: Suitable for all fleet sizes
Compatibility: Smartphones, tablets, and laptops
By simply looking at the number of downloads of the app, we can confidently say that this is a popular choice. Drivers and managers both love this ELD. And why not? It is a simple, affordable, and convenient option that even a new driver can operate easily. Sure, there are no fancy bells and whistles, but it offers the necessary compliance protocol, that, too, at an affordable price. Let’s see the features that make it so popular amongst consumers.
No Upfront Cost
The best thing about this ELD is that it does not have any initial cost. They give you the device for a monthly subscription fee. This feature alone makes it a preferred choice amongst buyers as most of the ELD providers charge a high upfront fee for providing their hardware. Big Road, on the other hand, provides it for free. You just have to take out a monthly subscription plan to continue using it.
Log Sharing and Printing
While all ELD devices are designed for recording duty status and managing driver logs, Big Road ELD really stands out for its ability to share and print the log, too. Whether you are showing your log to a Department of Transportation (DOT) inspector, sending it to the back office, or printing it to do IFTA, this device will not fail to deliver.
Innovative Mobile Application
Big Road designed their Bid Road Mobile App with utmost care. They made it slick and innovative in appearance, yet it is very simple and easy to use. It clearly displays the duty status as well as the remaining time of service with its duty cycle wheel. Logs are also accessible with a single tap, and the messaging feature really helps drivers stay connected with the dispatch staff.
Creates Accurate and Verifiable Logs
One more great feature of this device is its ability to generate accurate and verifiable logs. The device connects to the ECM of the vehicle and collects real-time engine data for accurate logging. The driver is also asked to verify the log. These logs can be tracked and verified with both the GPS and ECM data.
The list of pros of this amazing ELD is rich and long. The most prominent benefits include:
The Device is Simple and Quick to Install
The first thing any user will notice about this unit is its ease of installation. It offers plug-n-play connectivity. You simply plug it into the diagnostic port of your vehicle, and it will automatically establish a connection with the vehicle ECM.
Furthermore, there is no need for hiring professional services. The installation is a DIY process that even a newbie can handle easily.
It is Comfortable and Easy to Use
The device works with a very sleek yet simple app that features an innovative and user-friendly interface. Drivers can easily navigate through it to reap the benefits of its comfortable functioning. It reports the duty status and time of service at a glance. You can also check logs or messages with the press of a single button.
Compatible With Almost Every Device
At first, the Big Road Mobile App was only available over the Android platform. But now, in order to make it more inclusive, they have worked to make it available on the iOS platform, too. This means that the device is compatible with a huge array of smartphones available nowadays. You can easily pair it up with both the Android or Apple devices without any difficulty.
Does Not Have an Initial Upfront Cost
It does not have any upfront hardware cost. As their app was already a huge hit, to facilitate motor carriers in becoming compliant, Big Road Inc manufactured their DashLink ELD hardware. Plus, they do not charge any money for the hardware. You only need to take out a monthly subscription plan, and they will provide you with the hardware free of the additional cost.
Backed With a Rich Web Support
The Big Road website is a rich source of information. If you face any problem any step of the way, you can refer to their website for answers. It contains informational articles, troubleshooting guides, and video tutorials that will help you operate their product in a more effective manner.
Big Road ELD also has some cons associated with it. Don’t worry; these are negligible design flaws that you can ignore. These include:
Consumes a Lot of Power
It is an established fact that Bluetooth pairing has a negative impact on the battery life of your phone. Big Road ELD is guilty of this. Unlike some of the other units, it consumes a lot of power, so it drains the battery of your smartphone quicker than any other application.
So when you are planning to use it on a long route, be sure to bring your charger along to keep your phone up and running.
Can Only Connect With One Device at a Time
The FMCSA-approved list of ELD devices is very extensive. Some of the devices on this list can connect to multiple devices at any given time. However, Big Road ELD lacks in this regard as it can connect with only one device at a time.
What is the Big Road ELD Best For?
People argue that the Big Road ELD is not a full-featured device. We agree, but it has all the features that make it 100% compliant with the ELD mandate. What’s more is, It has zero upfront cost and also does not cost you too much in the monthly subscription fee. There are a number of aspects it is best for. Its top uses include:
Maintaining Driver E-logs
Before the imposition of the ELD regulation, paper logs were used to maintain the hours of service. Though they were useful, they could be easily tampered with, and both carriers and drivers used it to their advantage. But now, it is mandatory for every vehicle to have an ELD. They are an accurate and convenient way of keeping logs, and that’s what the Big Road ELD is best at.
It maintains accurate and comprehensive logs that you can forward or print as needed. In addition, it also offers several pre-installed sets of HOS rules to meet your needs.
Recording Duty Status
It is also great at keeping track of the Record of Duty Status (RODS). Drivers can choose between off-duty, on-duty, and sleeper status. Moreover, it allows them to record status when they are using the vehicle for personal purposes or when driving it for yard moves.
The device is very apt at recording GPS information. Using this data, fleet managers can view the route history for each vehicle to maximize productivity and reduce costs. It can also serve to resolve common fleet problems, such as monitoring harsh driver behavior, IFTA monitoring, and distance reporting.
Keeping in Touch With the Dispatch
It also supports two-way messaging. Using this, the driver and dispatcher can contact each other. Managers can help their drivers stay on route, draft better routes, and also warn about harsh behaviors. You can create new chats or upload documents with this feature.
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying a Big Road ELD?
The ELD mandate is in effect. If there is any time to be serious about it, it is now. Any commercial vehicle not complying with the regulation will face a lawsuit.
Big Road ELD is the device that will ensure your compliance. But before you haste into making the purchase, here are some things that you need to understand.
Know the Mandate
We agree that reading a 126-page long document is a tedious task, but reading the complete ELD mandate Final Rule will do you good. Knowing and understanding the mandate will help you ensure that your fleet adheres to its rules and stays compliant.
Understand Your Needs
Just as no two trucks are not the same, similarly, each fleet has its unique demands and requirements. A solution that works for an owner-operator is certainly not as useful for a fleet of 100+ trucks. Have a serious talk with your back office and dispatch team. Go over what features you need in your telematics solution, and then decide what to purchase.
Consult the FMCSA Approved List of ELDs
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a list of self-certified ELDs on their website. All the devices mentioned are approved and ensure that you stay compliant. Once you have identified what you need, you should consult the list and pick out the solution that is more suitable for your needs.
Request a Free Trial
When you have narrowed down your choice to a few devices, it is a great idea to test and try them first. Ask the company for a free trial. This allows you to compare different units and single out the one more suitable for you. If, during this time period, you are satisfied with the ELD, you can go on and purchase it. Big Road ELD also offers a free trial period to help you choose better.
Big Road vs KeepTruckin ELD - Comparison Overview
Ever since the ELD mandate went into effect, numerous manufacturers have flooded the market with a vast range of e-logging devices. But amongst the riff-raff, some companies really do stand out with their 100% compliant and high-quality ELDs. KeepTruckin is one of them. It has been bringing technology to the trucking industry even before the ELD regulation was imposed.
Let’s have a look at how it compares to the Big Road ELD.
First, let’s look at the features they have in common.
The first and the most obvious similarity between both devices is that they are both electronic logging devices designed to make commercial vehicles compliant. They keep an accurate record of duty status as well as maintain the driver logs in an organized and efficient manner. Using both of these, the dispatch personnel can run their fleet in a successful way.
The software apps these devices support are compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and laptops. As both are available over Android and Apple platforms, users can use them with any device. They have a user-friendly interface and are a breeze to navigate through.
Another obvious similarity between these devices is their type. Both are Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ELDs. They connect with the vehicle via the diagnostic port and pair with the smartphone via Bluetooth.
One more feature we really like is their ease of installation. There is no need to hire a professional to help you install any of these devices. Their installation is a simple DIY task that you can do yourself.
While they are quite similar, there are some features that set Big Road ELD apart from KeepTruckin. These include:
No Upfront Cost
The Big Road ELD stands out for its free-of-cost hardware. Yes, they do not charge a single penny as the upfront cost of the hardware. KeepTruckin, on the other hand, does have an upfront cost. Although it is very affordable, not having to pay for the device itself is a huge advantage.
Low Monthly Charges
When compared to the KeepTruckin ELD, Big Road ELD has lower monthly subscription charges. It might be a basic ELD without the bells and whistles that are the characteristic of KeepTruckin. But these features do have a price.
Big Road’s support is hailed as one of the most responsive in the ELD world. Not every company can boast 24/7 support. They may claim so, but when the time comes, they fail to deliver. The Big Road support staff, on the contrary, is always there for its consumers.
How to Set Up Big Road ELD
The Big Road ELD is considered one of the best for owner-operators, drivers, and fleets alike. When you decide to purchase this unit, the first thing you will think about is its installation, but don’t worry; they have you covered in this regard. With its DIY installation, the Big Road ELD is one of the easiest units to set up. Here is how to do it.
1. Install the Hardware
The first thing you have to do is install the DashLink hardware on your vehicle. Start by unboxing the device. Take out the connector cable and insert one end into the device. Rotate the screws to secure it.
Now, take the other end of the cable and plug it into the diagnostic port of the vehicle. Turn the collar to secure it as well. Now, turn on the engine. The device should boot up as soon as the engine is running.
2. Download the Big Road App
Open the app store on the smartphone, tablet, or laptop you are planning to use with the ELD. Search the BIG Road App. Click download. Wait for the app to finish downloading and installation. Once done, you will see the app icon on your home screen.
3. Set Up the App
Click on the app, and it will ask you to log in. Use the username and password provided by your fleet management to log in. If you are an owner-operator, you can sign up. After logging in, set up your profile.
4. Connect the ELD to the BIG Road App
Once logged in, establish a connection between the app and the ELD. The device utilizes Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Turn the Bluetooth on and search for the device. Click on it to pair them up with each other.
5. Recording the Duty Status
On the main app screen, after logging in, you will be asked to pick the vehicle you are currently using. After choosing it, you will see a dial with time and recent duty status written on it.
When you want to change the duty status, click on the dial. You will see options for off-duty, sleeper, driving, on duty. You will also see options for begin personal use, start yard move, and duty status with a note. Choose the current duty status, and it will show up on your duty cycle wheel along with the remaining time.
The first thing a driver does after going on duty is enter their shipping information and submit a pre-trip Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). To do that, click on the daily logs. Scroll all the way to the bottom and hit on ‘new inspection’ given beneath the inspection report option. Open it and put in your findings in the provided form.
If you notice any defects, go to the Found Defect box and enter in the Remarks and Defects option. Hit save. You can also conduct a post-trip inspection in the same way.
These are just some basic features and functions of the Big Road ELD. To learn everything about setting up and using it, check out the video given below.
To become successful as a trucker, you have to stay compliant. We agree that the ELD mandate has made things a bit difficult. But trust us, once the confusion is clear, this law will turn out to be one of the best ones. It not only guarantees safety but also abolishes oppression and overworking.
If you are looking to become compliant, be sure to give the Big Road ELD a serious thought. It is one of the basic ELDs, yet it has all the features required by law for ELD compliance. Combine that with the free hardware and low monthly usage fee, and you will find it an amazing device to equip your fleet with.
People Also Ask
The trucking industry is constantly changing. New rules and regulations are drafted and imposed regularly. One example is the ELD mandate. Since it revolves around installing technology, people are very confused, so making the right choice is also quite difficult. In this section, we have addressed the questions people frequently ask about the Big Road ELD.
Is Big Road ELD Worth it?
The Big Road ELD is your basic e-logging device. It does not have the bells and whistles of the more modern devices, yet it is one of the most trusted and reliable units on the market. And the fact that it comes without any upfront cost with a low monthly subscription fee makes it a worthy device to use.
Who Makes Big Road ELD?
The Big Road ELD is made by Big Road Inc. It is a Fleet Complete Company. It is a Waterloo-based startup that focuses on creating comprehensive solutions for truckers and their fleets.
When Was Big Road ELD Created?
Although their ELD app was already a hit amongst truck drivers, with the ELD mandate in effect, Big Road went on and created the Big Road ELD in 2018. Both the software and hardware were developed for the sole purpose of helping fleets and owner-operators expand their business and efficiently run them.
Is a Big Road ELD Hard to Use?
Big Road ELD is one of the most popular ELDs on the market. It has been satisfyingly serving truckers and fleets. And judging from the amazing feedback it has generated, it is one of the simplest and easiest ELDs to use. Not only is it easy to install, but due to the intuitive app, it is also very easy to operate.
How to Print Records of Big Road ELD To Do IFTA
Printing records of Big Road ELD is very easy, even if you want to do IFTA.
- On the main app screen, tap on the logs.
- Scroll to the bottom, and you will see an option for edit logs.
- Open it, go to the bottom of the screen, and click on Email/Print.
- Choose print, and it will present you with the apps. Select the one you want to use and collect your printouts.
How to Install ELD Big Road
The Big Road ELD is A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ELD. It comes with a connecting cable that allows you to connect the device with the vehicle. Here is how to install it.
1. Take the adapter cable and plug it into the Big Road ELD hardware.
2. Rotate the plastic screw to tightly secure the plug.
3. Locate the diagnostic port of your vehicle. It is usually on the driver's side beneath the steering column or the left of the driver seat.
4. Take the other end of the connecting cable and insert the adapter onto the diagnostic port.
5. Press firmly and rotate the collar until the plug is secure.
6. Now mount the hardware in a position where it does not obstruct your view yet is near the windshield for better reception.
7. Tidy up the installation by securing any loose wires.
How to Log a Yard Move In on Big Road ELD
To log a yard move, the fleet manager must first enable Yard Move in the Big Road Web App. Once this is done, you will see the option for Begin Yard Move in the list of duty statuses. Set this as your duty status and begin the move.
How to Do Pre Trip and Post Trip on Big Road ELD
Doing a pre- and post-trip inspection on Big Road ELD is fairly easy.
- Open the app.
- On the main screen, you will see a button labeled Daily Logs. Click on it.
- Press Edit Logs given at the bottom of the screen. On this screen, scroll to the bottom and press New Inspection.
- Here, you will see the list of vehicles in your fleet. Choose the one you are inspecting. Fill out the form.
- If you find any defects, check the Found Defect box. Now press Remarks and Defects to enter the flaw and hit save. Follow the same procedure for post-trip inspections too.
Is Big Road ELD Compliant?
Yes, the Big Road is an ELD-compliant device. It helps drivers keep an accurate log of their Hours of Service (HOS) by internally synchronizing to the vehicle. While the Big Road Mobile App alone may not be compliant, when you use it with the hardware, it is ELD compliant.
How Much Does the Big Road ELD Cost Per Month?
Big Road ELD does stand out for being a very affordable option on the market. The equipment itself does not have any upfront cost. But you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to avail of their service and app. They offer their users to choose between three Big Road plans:
- ELD Owner and Operator Compliance Plan for $19.5 per month
- Fleet Management ELD Compliance plan for $25 per month
- Fleet Management Electronic Logs for $15 per month