Payments increasingly are the anchor connecting diverse business functions, including in the commercial trucking industry, where tools built into fleet card apps are helping to cut costs and paperwork for fuel taxes, workplace safety and other functions.

The latest example is Comdata Inc., which announced a partnership this month with KeepTruckin, a San Francisco-based startup that that provides electronic logging device (ELD) services for trucking companies to track the hours drivers spend behind the wheel. This technology can help comply with new federal safety mandates.

Through the connection to KeepTruckin, users of Comdata’s MyFleet Program fleet card app may directly buy and manage ELD services from KeepTruckin to automatically track drivers’ duty records, backed up by GPS data, said Terrence McCrossan, a senior vice president with Brentwood, Tenn.-based Comdata.

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The GPS element from KeepTruckin also improves Comdata’s fuel tax-management service within MyFleet Program, according to McCrossan. “Linking with KeepTruckin ties together several things we already offered, so now we can marry drivers’ fuel transaction data with where and how far they drove, improving processes," he said in an interview.

The majority of the trucking industry is comprised of smaller firms and most of these have not yet adopted ELD technology, McCrossan said.

MyFleet Program, which launched in November 2016, supports fleet card pricing, controls and record-keeping for fuel purchases, along with discounted lodging through a partnership with CLC Lodging and access to capital through Crestmark Bank.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in late 2015 announced its final ELD rule requiring commercial truck and bus drivers to track the number of hours spent driving during each shift beginning in December 2017.

The possibility still exists that a fresh legal challenge to the rule could crop up before the end of the year, when most trucks are required to comply. An association of independent drivers challenged the rule last year, but a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld it in an October 2016 ruling. The independent owners still have an option to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.

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