Blue Ink Eld Reviews & Tech ELD Rating
Are you a new independent driver or small fleet owner? Does the ELD mandate seem complicated and difficult to follow? Or are you someone looking to change your current ELD?
Then we have some information you might be interested in reading through. In this article we will go over the Blue Ink BIT ELD, and explain why it is a great option for any individual driver or small fleet owner.
The Blue Ink BIT ELD is a fully FMCSA complaint ELD in both the USA and Canada. It also includes the ability to put in exemptions for oilfields and yard moves.
Then if you are a fleet manager and want a few extra features, the premium package offered contains additional features that help you manage your fleet.
The main features include: IFTA Reports, Maintenance Schedules, and Fleet Visibility. These features make the Blue Ink ELD an excellent choice for smaller fleets who don’t need all the features available with the more expensive ELD options.
In the rest of this review we will go in depth about the BIT ELD so you can have all the information you will need to help with your decision on which ELD is the best fit for you.
We will examine all the different features Blue Ink has to offer, go over some of the drawbacks, dive deeper into the different payment methods, installation, and finally go over some frequently asked questions.
Blue Ink ELD Features
- BIT ELD App
- com (Web Dashboard)
- IFTA Fuel Tax Reporting
- Maintenance Schedules
- Fleet Visibility
The mobile phone app and the web dashboard are free services that you can use, and will hook up to the ELD when it is purchased. The app is the driver’s best friend. It allows the driver to easily change their status form on and off duty to accurately track their Hours of Service (HOS). Then it’s a simple click to certify the logs for the day. It also shows a simple dashboard showing available hours left for driving, shift and cycle times for any cycle rule you have.
Includes cycle times for property carrying vehicles, passenger carrying vehicles for anywhere in the US, Canada, or oilfields. Another equally important feature is the digital vehicle inspection reports. This system allows the drivers to help flag issues as soon as they occur and can get their trucks serviced immediately.
These features will allow you to reduce downtime and keep truck utilization at a maximum.
Additional Blue Ink Tech ELD Features Overview
The BlueInkTech web portal is what every fleet manager needs to track the large steam of data about their drivers, trucks, and deliveries. Each driver will have a profile available on the portal, this profile allows the fleet manager to track exemptions, and CDL renewals.
The portal also tracks each driver’s HOS, so the fleet manager can quickly see how many hours of driving each driver has left. This accurate hours tracking will allow you to optimize the delivery logistics to fully utilize each driver’s remaining hours. The web portal also shows each driver’s logs.
The fleet manager can then read through each log to inspect for any errors and push suggestions if they spot a possible error. They can also immediately see if a violation occurs and see the details of how the violation occurred so they can coach the driver about how to prevent any future events from happening.
The biggest disadvantage of the BIT ELD is the lack of other features. Even though all the features the BIT ELD offers are impressive, there are other ELDs out there that offer plenty of more advanced features to help you optimize each vehicles utilization. The BIT ELD does make up for the lack of features by keeping their price significantly lower than their competitors.
Every other competitor charges high monthly or annual premiums that end up costing significantly more than the upfront cost of the BIT ELD. Most of the features the BIT ELD is lacking are only fully utilized for larger fleets.
Smaller fleets could certainly use these features but generally the added cost of the advanced features outweighs the return on investment form increased utilization. This is why we are recommending the BIT ELD to individual drivers or small fleet managers.
When purchasing the BIT ELD there are a few different pricing options to consider. The first and simplest pricing option is the upfront cost of the ELD. They charge a flat rate of $295 dollars. This one-time cost purchased the device for the vehicle and by downloading the free app each driver and vehicle is now fully ELD complaint.
It’s as simple as that. No need to worry about any recurring expenses afterwards, the upfront cost of this ELD makes it extremely cost efficient. The only other thing to consider is since the device interacts with the driver’s smart phone you will need to make sure the phone is new enough and can have access to cellular data.
There are also no hidden expenses after purchasing the ELD, like buying the proper connections cables, etc. Most vehicle diagnostic ports use a 6 or 9 pin connection, and when purchasing the ELD you just choose which connection is right for you.
If you have an OBD-II connection or would like an adapter splitter then these cables can be purchased at an extra cost of $40. The splitter cable would allow you to keep the ELD plugged in while still allowing a mechanic to plug in a diagnostic monitor to view any fault codes and interact with the vehicles on-board computer.
IFTA FUEL TAX FEATURE ON BLUE INK ELD
The IFTA fuel tax reporting is a huge time saving feature for any fleet that is going to be driving across several states. Recording and tracking mileage for each jurisdiction along with knowing all the fuel purchases can be hours of work.
This features uses the ELD to automatically log the miles from the odometer and organizes the mileage by each state or jurisdiction. The IFTA fuel tax reporting automation takes out all the trouble of making these calculates and automates it all for you. Just combine with uploaded fuel receipts from the driver and let the dashboard do the rest for you.
This breaks down all the quarterly fuel purchases and shows detailed reports for each vehicle and for each state that vehicle was in. There is also no magic behind in how these calculations are done, you can easily see the details to each driver’s route, and visually verify how Blue Ink calculates the IFTA data.
By allowing Blue Ink to do the calculations for the reports negates the chances of a clerical error occurring when filing.
The three services we listed earlier, IFTA Fuel Tax Recording, Maintenance Schedules and Fleet Visibility, are available as premium services. Blue Ink offers three different packages that are billed quarterly. The first package is their basic package that includes one premium service, and costs $10 a month billed quarterly per vehicle.
The pro package is their second tier package, this includes two premium services for the price of $15 a month, charged quarterly per vehicle. The third and final tier of premium package is their enterprise package.
This package costs $20 a month, again billed quarterly per vehicle, but this package includes all three premium services offered by the Blue Ink BIT ELD.
Since each of these packages are billed quarterly, if you sign up for one of these services in the middle of the quarter the cost is pro-rated based on the number of days you’ll actually get to use the service. This pro-ration only applied to the Maintenance Schedules and Fleet Visibility.
The IFTA Fuel Tax recording is still billed as the full amount, this is because all of the IFTA data is always logged whether you’re paying for the service or not. Once the service is paid for, for the quarter than you will see all the data dating back to the start of the current quarter.
Depending on your fleets’ size, one or more of these features could be a large enough time saver to outweigh the cost of Blue Ink’s premium services. We also liked how Blue Ink offers three different options for purchasing their premium packaged allowing you to mix and match which services are most important to you.
Blue Ink ELD Maintenance Schedule
Since the ELD is monitoring the mileage and engine operating hours, it allows you to easily schedule oil and filter changes in advance. This lets you optimize when this preventive maintenance occurs so you don’t have to waste any time on performing these vehicle critical tasks.
Since all of this data appears on the dashboard, the fleet manager has a detailed, easy to read, view of each vehicles’ maintenance schedule. The dashboard allows you to customize any maintenance task to your own conditions. If you’d prefer to schedule maintenance by mileage, engine operating hours, days, or months, then the Blue Ink dashboard allows you this full customized solution.
The dashboard is also color coded by past due, future, and current maintenance schedules so it’s very quick for the manager to see which vehicles are in desperate need of servicing. Or if a vehicle has upcoming maintenance then you can more easily order parts ahead of time to avoid going over due on maintenance or cause unexpected downtime.
The final feature we will talk about is the fleet visibility. This simple tool shows the exact location of each vehicle and driver along with where each driver is along their routes. It not only shows the location of each vehicle, but also shows where the traffic is so you can reroute drivers ahead of time to cut down on loss of time by having your drivers sit in traffic.
This service also keeps data on historic routes, so you can see where drivers are routinely waiting and cut out historical bottle necks. It also allows you verify each driver’s route to ensure they are taking the most efficient path
Blue Ink’s BIT ELD is very simple and fast to install. When the ELD is purchased you will receive the appropriate connection cable you purchased to easily attach the device to each vehicles computer. The device plugs directly into the computer through a port that is easily accessible in the vehicles’ dashboard.
Once the device is installed, each driver will have to download a free app, which is available on both the Apple App Store and on Google Play. These apps allow the drivers to create an account and sync all of their data with the fleet managers’ dashboard.
The app allows them to pull up their vehicles inspection reports, log hours, and more. All of this is made incredibly straight forward so the driver doesn’t have to waste any valuable time on pesky record keeping.
To view all the information coming from each vehicle the fleet manager is given access to an online dashboard. This dashboard allows them to monitor everything that is happening with the fleet.
The features available will vary based on what package is purchased. By making the dashboard an online tool, this saves the fleet manger the hassle of downloading and installing an application, and tying the manager down to a specific workstation.
Blue Ink ELD Buyers Guide
First off, what is an ELD? An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) automatically collects a driver’s hours of service to ensure they are complying with all the federally mandated safety standards. This electronic standard was put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
To comply with this mandate, drivers are required to have an ELD connected to their vehicle’s diagnostic port to assist in electronically logging their hours. These electronic devices ensure accurate miles and hours are logged by reading engine shaft rotations, and counting all hours after the vehicle is moving more than five miles per hour.
What makes the Blue Ink BIT ELD stand above the rest? There are no monthly or annual fees. You read that right, just a onetime payment of $295 dollars and the device is yours along with all the other electronic services. The reason we recommend the BIT ELD for small fleet’s or individual drivers is for this low cost.
You pay one upfront fee and when you have the device for a few years, it pays itself off rather quickly. The setup of this device is also incredibly simple and fast to do.
You plug it in to your vehicle’s diagnostic port, with one of the many options of cables Blue Ink offers, then just download the free app and connect to the device through your phone’s Bluetooth connection and that’s it. The fleet manager then can login to the free web portal to view their fleet’s statistics and location data, on their easy to use interface.
Blue INK FAQ’s
Will this work for team driver?
Yes, The BIT ELD app will allow 2 drivers to keep logs simultaneously.
Is there an oilfield line 5 option available?
The app will allow you to use the oilfield exemption when you are on site.
Does it offer a personal convenience line for off duty driving?
Yes and yard moves.
Is this device the only thing you have to buy basically plug-and-play?
Yes, but you will also need a smartphone or tablet (Apple or Android) with Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS and our free app. If your vehicle does not have a round diagnostics port then you may need an adapter.
Do I own or lease the ELD?
When you buy the BIT ELD you own the ELD. There are no ongoing monthly costs to use the BIT ELD to record your HOS logs or for access to BIT Customer Support.
Will this help me with DVIRs?
Yes. Drivers can submit their DVIRs through the BIT ELD app, and those reports will be available on the Blue Ink Tech web portal for six months.
I'm the BIT account administrator. Can I edit my drivers' logs if I see an error?
You cannot directly make changes to your drivers' logs, but you can make suggested edits to their logs on the web portal. The suggested changes will show on the driver's BIT ELD app home screen for them to accept or reject before certifying their logs.
Why can’t I change my “Drive” time to “Off Duty”?
The FMCSA mandates that Driving events recorded by the ELD when the vehicle was in motion cannot be changed to a non-motion status such as “Off Duty” or “Sleeper Berth”. You can only change drive time to another in-motion status such as “Personal Conveyance” or “Yard Move”.
What if the inspector wants a copy of my logs?
You can send your logs to the DOT email or web server. On the “Roadside Inspection” screen tap the green gear icon in the bottom-left corner to bring up a menu of options. Tap “Send Records to DOT Web Server” or “Email Records to DOT”.
The officer should give you a routing number to enter in the comment field so they can easily find the file. Your logs will be sent in the comma-separated-variable format required by the FMCSA.