Do you have a mix of drivers that are required to use ELDs to capture their HOS, as well as drivers that fall under the 100 air-mile (soon to be 150 air-mile) short-haul exemption? For short haul drivers, you have the option to use either paper timecards or ELDs.

Managing both timecards and ELD data in a mixed fleet has its benefits, as well as challenges. With FMCSA updating a few of the HOS rules later this year, 100 air-mile exemption being one of them, it may be the best time to decide if switching your entire fleet over to ELDs is the right choice for you.

So, should you switch or not? Are timecards easier and more cost-efficient or are ELDs more efficient and effective in maintaining compliance and reducing costs?

Let’s break down the options:

Paper timecards


  • Easier for older and less 'tech-saavy' drivers
  • No more info than is needed showing on the timecard: driver’s start time, end time and total on-duty time
  • Only allows for visibility and review at the time when drivers physically turn in documents
  • No ability to track driver compliance: if driver ends up over time or miles and needs logs, must recreate manually and keep paper logs on file
ELDs for a short haul driver


  • Automatically captures all the required information for the driver
  • Keeps drivers compliant in case the driver does not meet short haul exemption for the day by automatically creating logs
  • Ability to see which drivers exceed short haul requirements on which days
  • Provides other information that can support more effective business operations
  • Captures more info than is needed on a timecard
  • Drivers need to learn how to use ELDs
What other information does a robust ELD solution capture and what can you do with it?


HOS compliance isn’t the only reason short haul fleets are switching to ELDs. The benefits go beyond capturing duty status. Here are some other ways that fleets are taking advantage of ELD data:

  • Speeding, harsh braking and sharp acceleration events – help manage driver behavior and reduce the potential for accidents and incidents as well as citations and other enforcement actions
  • Idling times – help drive down fuel costs, as well as increase the longevity of your vehicles
  • IFTA/IRP documentation – alleviate the tedious burden placed on drivers to fill out FTRs and VTRs
  • Graph grid duty status’ capture – never get dinged for a missing log as drivers always have the required information, regardless if they were operating under the short-haul exemption or not
  • HOS Violations – reduce or eliminate 30-minute rest break violations by monitoring who has and who has not taken the required 30-minute rest break after exceeding the short-haul limits


Along with the additional information captured above, having the capability to manage your fleet uniformly using one process can save time and reduce the complexity of internal and external audits.

It’s time to decide what’s best for your business


Taking time, cost, safety, and compliance into consideration, mixed fleets that plan on either continuing to use ELDs or switching their entire fleet operations to ELDs should see a greater benefit in all areas compared to paper timecard processes. Now is the time to move from paper to a fully digital world.

EROAD’s Smart Short Haul can help streamline back office processes, mitigate risk during audits and keep your fleet compliant with automated rule set switching when drivers breach the air-mile or total hours limits. Learn more about EROAD’s Smart Short Haul

Susan Reszczynski

Safety & Compliance Manager
Susan is responsible for the development and execution of EROAD's robust training program in the U.S. With over 10 years’ experience in the regulatory environment, Susan brings knowledge from both carrier and driver perspectives. Susan’s main objective is bridging the gap between customers, product developers, enforcement and regulators to ensure compliance and safety is achieved quickly, easily and with lasting results.

More articles by Susan

The pros and cons of using paper timecards vs ELDs with a mixed fleet

by | Jun 16, 2020 |

Share This