Electronic logging devices (ELDs) were established to digitally record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). In other words, they were created with the goal to replace the paper logbooks drivers carried to record their Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.
Various fleets have implemented electronic logging technology long before the mandate was ever introduced. But, today’s trucking companies are transitioning to automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to reduce paperwork and meet the standards covered in FMCA’s rule 395.15, which requires the recording of a driver’s duty status and changes as well as the amount of time, spent operating the vehicle.
ELDs and AOBRDs are both used to monitor and record data about the vehicle and its driver. This information covers factors beyond RODS like Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) and IFTA automation as well as monitoring driver behaviors such as speeding, idling and hard breaking.
As the trucking industry braces for the new ELD mandate requirements, here are a few benefits we can expect to see:
- Integrated route solutions for construction and high-traffic areas
- Real-time driver status updates for dispatchers
- Improved load planning in light of HOS compliance needs
- Reduced hassle of keeping a paper log
- Data to improve the shipping and receiving of goods on behalf of carriers and drivers
While many drivers still aren’t accustomed to the new ELD requirements, it’ll give them more power in the long-term. Time spent off duty doesn’t stop the clock. Because of the 14-hour rule, drivers and dispatchers will need to plan better and leverage the technological features ELDs have to offer in order to help drivers remain compliant on the road.
Carriers and their customers will also need to be more flexible to account for time delays due to congested truck lanes, adverse road conditions, severe weather or high traffic.
How You Can Prepare for the New ELD Mandate Requirements
Officials have been slow to enforce the new ELD mandate requirements to provide fleet owners and operators some time to adapt. Unfortunately, that window won’t last forever, so it’s important for trucking companies to understand how to comply and the penalties at stake if they fail to comply.
To prepare, drivers must know how to successfully pass the roadside inspection during a traffic stop. (This is likely how the new mandate requirements will be enforced.) Here are documents U.S. drivers need to have on hand to ensure your vehicle passes inspection:
- A certified, registered and compliant ELD
- Paper log sheets as a backup
- An ELD user manual
- Instructions on how to report ELD malfunctions
- Instructions on data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD
- Instructions on how to transfer the driver’s data to authorized official
In addition to drivers, fleet managers will also need to make adjustments in order to be compliant with the new ELD mandate requirements. As a motor carrier, you’ll need ELD-recorded RODS and backup data for six months.
This information can be made available through FMCSA. However, FMCSA won’t retain this data unless it’s processing a violation associated with it. This is why it’s crucial to keep supporting documents on hand in the event of an inspection. Here are documents fleet managers should keep close by:
- Itineraries, schedules or documents citing the trip
- Expense receipts
- Electronic mobile records
- Payroll records
ELD Mandate Consequences and Exemptions
Failure to comply with the ELD mandate requirements will result in written violations and fines ranging from a few thousand dollars to the mid ten thousands. Drivers will face a violation under section 395.8, covering HOS.
Now that you know some of the consequences of a failed roadside inspection, here are a few exemptions to consider. If a driver falls under one or more of these categories, they’ll still pass.
- Drivers using paper logs up to 8 days out of a 30-day period if their ELD has malfunctioned
- Drivers operating under short-haul exceptions who aren’t keeping RODS
- Towing operations or drivers transporting other vehicles don’t need ELDs
- Drivers with vehicles manufactured prior to 2000
The goal of the ELD mandate requirements is to improve the documentation of drivers’ work hours and shift breaks. Under these new rules, violations are projected to drop as drivers and operators become more accustomed to the mandate (despite a rise in tickets in the short-term).
However, enforcement will only continue to get stronger so it’s best to educate yourself and continuously look for ways to improve your tracking processes. To learn more about the ELD mandate and how Kamion can help you work smarter (while remaining compliant), click here to request a live demo of our platform.