The Definition of an Electronic Logging Device
Electronic logging devices are commonly referred to as ELDs. The FMCSA has certified this electronic hardware. The device is used to record the driving hours for commercial vehicles. The driver can monitor their status and print out their logs for the Department of Transportation (DOT) inspectors. This device is also referred to as an Electronic On-Board Recorder and an Automatic On-Board Recorder. The purpose of the device is to enable the drivers to log their hours electronically. The most current term for this device is a Record of Driver Status. The device is connected to the software used by the fleet management office. This enables the office to provide the base with driving logs for the fleet in real-time. The FMCSA requires an ELD in every commercial vehicle as a replacement for the paper logbook used in the past.
The FMCSA Ruling
The final ruling about electronic logging devices was released by the FMCSA in 2015. The ruling stated all commercial vehicles must be equipped with this device including the bus and truck driving sectors. This rule was established to protect the drivers of commercial vehicles, tighten adherence to compliance and improve safety on the road. The FMCSA defines a commercial vehicle as:
- Capable of towing or self-propelled
- Meeting specific criteria regarding use, design or weight
- Used for the transportation of property or passengers
- Used for interstate commerce on the highway
The device provides more accurate information for the activity of the driver using pictures taken during the day. The device additionally monitors a variety of information including the number of miles the vehicle is driven, the hours the engine was in use, the location of the vehicle and the movement of the vehicle. The ruling affects all commercial motor vehicles crossing the state lines. Every driver maintaining duty status logs for a minimum of eight of every thirty days is required to have this device. Please visit https://eldfacts.com/eld-mandate/ to view additional mandates.
The Exemptions and Compliance
The exemptions for the FMCSA mandate include tow-aways and drive away’s provided the commercial vehicle is included in the shipment, commercial vehicles manufactured before 2000 and drivers using a paper logbook for less than eight of every thirty days. Compliance to the FMCSA mandate for drivers using paper logs went into effect in December of 2017. Truck driving establishments using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device are required to have the device registered and certified by December of 2019.
The Transitional Period
The ruling established on February 16th of 2016 provided a transitional period of two years for awareness of the new mandate. Four years were provided for the compliance of commercial vehicles. December 16th of 2019 must meet compliance. According to the predictions of FMCSA, this ruling will affect approximately 3.4 million drivers and 3.1 commercial vehicles. Additional facts regarding the ruling and mandatory compliance are available at https://eldfacts.com/eld-facts/.
The drivers and commercial vehicles impacted need to start researching and choosing an ELD as soon as possible to ensure they have enough time for a professional installation. Every driver must be trained in the use of the device before the deadline for compliance. The FMCSA has provided a checklist on their website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices. This includes all actions necessary to achieve compliance.
The Benefits of the Electronic Logging Devices
The ELD offers a wide variety of benefits for the commercial fleet. The time required for inspections and paperwork will be significantly reduced, and driver safety will be enhanced. The majority of commercial fleets will see improvements in the efficiency and productivity of the fleet. The risk of making an error is significantly decreased by using this device. This will help reduce the expenses for the fleet. According to the FMCSA, the mandate will have a significant effect on safety. They have estimated 562 injuries will be avoided and 26 lives will be saved per year due to the reduction in accidents involving a commercial vehicle.
Managing the fleet will become more straightforward due to the monitoring of the activities of the fleet. Driver fatigue will also be reduced due to compliance. Information regarding any issues with the engine will enable repairs to be made before becoming major and necessitating the vehicle to be removed from the road.
The Unfortunate Myths
Due to the new mandate of the FMCSA, numerous myths have surfaced regarding these devices. Multiple commercial drivers are concerned using the device will be too difficult. The truth is once the driver has used this device, they have no desire to go back to a paper logbook. This is because the device enables them to be on the road for more extended periods, calculates the changes in duty status to the minute and lets them post more miles.
Another myth states driver and vehicle safety are not improved with this device. This is not true because the device does not control the speed of the vehicle. The device tells the dispatchers and the drivers how much longer the vehicle can be driven for the remainder of the day. The decisions made by the dispatcher are more informed, and the driver does not become fatigued behind the wheel. This leads to more efficiency and driver safety. It is essential to note the drivers using this device have a much lower crash rate than those using paper logs. Please visit https://eldfacts.com/eld-myths/ for additional myths regarding this device.
Some drivers feel as though the device is impacting their privacy, but this is not true. The only individuals who can see the data work for the trucking company. The device only enables them to locate the vehicle. There are regulations regarding the device created to provide the drivers with both peace of mind and privacy. When the vehicle is used for personal transportation, a restriction of ten-miles is placed on the location data. The device does not know everything the driver is doing, but is more accurate and saves valuable time.
The Bottom Line
The new FMCSA mandate regarding the use of this device for commercial vehicles is intended to provide numerous positive benefits for both the drivers and the trucking companies. This includes increased safety, compliance and an improvement in the overall efficiency of the entire fleet. Every commercial driver and company impacted should already be researching and choosing the best device for their specific needs. Not only will this ensure they meet the compliance deadline, but they will also begin seeing the savings in both expenses and time.