Electronic Logging Device (ELDs)

Electronic Logging Device (ELDs)

We’re certain no one in trucking missed the announcement of the long-awaited Electronic Logging Devices regulation. Basically, the mandate is that all drivers who are required to complete a daily record of duty status must switch to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017. Companies using some form of electronic logging may continue to use those devices, even if they don’t comply with the new regulations, until December 16, 2019. FMCSA did exempt some drivers from using ELDs:

  • Drivers operating under the short haul exception: no more than 12 hours, no further than 100 air miles from terminal (exception to this discussed later)
  • Drivers operating in towaway/driveaway service
  • Drivers operating trucks manufactured before 2000

Those are the basics of the regulation, but to really understand how it might affect your operation we need to look beyond the basics.

Is this the end of hours of service violations?

The short answer is “no”, hours of service violations can still take place. In fact, the devices don't even have to warn the driver that they're close to running out of hours, or need to take their mid-day break. Vendors may choose to add that option but the larger issue is that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) views ELDs as data gathering and enforcement devices. It is still up to the motor carrier to maintain robust safety procedures to monitor hours of service.

Can I stop retaining supporting documents?

ELDs are designed to automatically record driving time. Because of that function, supporting documents will no longer be required for driving time. However, documents will still be required to support on duty not driving time. Under the new regulations motor carriers must retain up to eight documents each day for each driver using an ELD.

In addition, roadside inspectors may ask to see any supporting documents that the driver has in their possession. This does not mean that the driver must maintain a supporting document file, but they will have to make available such things as a bill of lading or trip sheet that they’re currently using.

Which ELD device is the best choice?

In order to be considered in compliance with the regulations, the device must be certified by FMCSA and appear on their list of approved devices. That list is the best place to start your search, but there will be different options beyond the regulatory basics that vendors will offer. You should choose options that will enhance not only regulatory compliance but also support overall driver and safety performance improvement.

What are some issues beyond the basics?

The ELD regulation changes the method used to track hours of service, but it also adds other nuances and complexities that must be dealt with in order to maintain compliance. Here are some examples that require additional oversight:

Short haul exception: drivers will be required to use an ELD if they use a paper log more than 8 times in a rolling 30 day period. (Exceed 12 hours or more than 100 air miles from terminal) Once a driver has exceeded that threshold, they’ll have to drive an ELD equipped truck until their 30 day record drops to 8 or less paper log events.

Truck rental: replacing a truck down for repairs with a short term rental means you’ll have to equip that truck with an ELD.

Document retention: there are differences between ELD and non-ELD driver document retention. Also, the current FMCSA document retention policy stays in effect until December, 2017.

Harassment/Coercion: these are two separate and important issues that define communication with the driver. Drivers can report violations and the regulations set forth penalties for motor carriers.

Yard moves/Personal use: each time the truck moves that activity is automatically recorded. Motor carriers must have in place procedures to properly assign all moves to a driver. During an audit any truck movement not assigned to a driver may be cause for further investigation.

Malfunction: the regulations stipulate the procedures for handling a malfunction. The first thing the driver must do is reconstruct the current day and prior 7 days on a paper log.

Resources available

NTC offers a cost-effective solution to take you beyond the basics. We can help you with device selection and then design a comprehensive program to review the incoming data, verify its accuracy, and generate meaningful reports. This is not an off-the-shelf solution but rather a program custom designed for your needs. It's designed to ensure full regulatory compliance and covers everything from data gathering, auditing, reporting, and generating violation letters to drivers.

Here are a few of the benefits of our program:

  • Specific auditor assigned to your account who understands your company and log policies.
  • Auditors trained in the Hours of Service Regulations.
  • Cost effectiveness compared internal personnel costs.
  • Time cards audits.
  • Intra-state and exempted carriers are audited. 
  • Data from ELD devices can be imported into our log audit program and analyzed to ensure your drivers are in compliance with the Hours of Service Regulations.

Forge A Strong Partnership

A partnership with National Transportation Consultants will bring expertise and a new set of “eyes” to examine past practices, help you develop an improvement plan and recommend solutions. Our former FMCSA investigators know how to craft a “compelling” solution and can recommend strategies to implement that plan.

An examination of business practices has also led many national companies to outsource key safety and compliance functions to NTCI. Some of the benefits are:

  • More efficient handling of your safety and compliance program
  • Support from qualified people in all phases of safety, compliance, and regulations
  • Reduced personnel costs
  • Allow you more time to focus on your core business

When you partner with NTCI, we are not just your consultant, but also your partner in safety and compliance, providing you with a customized safety and compliance program that reduces your safety and regulatory exposure.

For help with your insurance program, contact NTCI today.