In 2012, Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, aka MAP-21. The bill required the FMCSA to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs).
Trucking companies had until December 2017 to implement certified ELDs to record HOS.
Fleets that were already equipped with electronic logging technology (AOBRDs) before December 2017 have until December 2019 to ensure compliance with the published specifications.
“Electronic logging devices have been legislated, promulgated and litigated – with Congress voting three times in the past five years in favor of this requirement and a federal court rejecting a challenge to the rule. The time has finally come to retire decades-old, burdensome paper logs that consume countless hours and are susceptible to fraud and put the safety of all motorists first. The benefits of this rule exceed the costs by more than $1 billion, making it a rule the ATA can firmly support and easily adopt,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Today marks the start of a new era of safety and efficiency for our industry and we thank the champions in the Department of Transportation and Congress who have gotten us to this point.”
Truck Drivers and Carriers – What Do You Need to Know?
The ELD Rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers are included, unless they qualify for one of the exceptions to the ELD rule.
ELD Rule Exceptions
The following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required):
- Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
- Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported).
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.
What Do Carriers Need to Do?
Carriers must evaluate and select ELDs, and ensure they are installed and drivers and administrative staff are trained to use them by the deadline that applies (December 16, 2019 for carriers using AOBRDs or December 18, 2017 for those using paper logs or logging software).
Drivers must understand and be able to use ELDs by the required deadline, including how to annotate and edit RODS, certify RODS, and collect required supporting documents. You will also need to know how to display and transfer data to safety officials when requested.
Choosing an Electronic Logging Device Checklist
Most Important: Make sure that the specific ELD model you are considering is on FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs. Review the list of registered ELDs here. The vendors on this list have self-certified that their device is compliant with all of the ELD technical specifications, and registered each ELD model with FMCSA.
Take a few minutes to research the ELD provider by checking with the Better Business Bureau and looking at online reviews for their trucking software products and customer service.
While many ELDs may be part of a Fleet Management System (FMS) or include FMS functions, there is no requirement for Fleet Management functionality. An ELD that complies with FMCSA requirements is what is required by the ELD rule.
The top benefits of ELDs for Truckers according to eldfacts.com are:
- An ELD leads to more miles on the road, which, in turn, leads to more money
- ELDs get drivers back on the road faster with expedited inspections
- ELDs reduce burdensome paperwork headaches
- ELDs eliminate easy form and manner errors that can be troublesome and expensive
- ELDs issue warnings when time is tight
- ELDs build a commercial truck driver’s roadside resume
- ELDs document driver safety in the event of an accident
- ELDs make communicating with the home office easier
- ELD applications make life easier on the road
- ELDs pave the way for roadside assistance when drivers need it
There has been much deliberation, chatter, and opinions created around the ELD’s. However, at this point it is clear that the ELD mandate is here to stay and carriers need to invest in the technologies that can ensure they are compliant. With many ELD solutions to choose from, we recommend exploring platforms that integrate with your back-office trucking software, transportation management system (TMS) ensuring you will achieve a better return in operational efficiency.. No matter what solution you choose, make sure you take the time to understand the nuances of the platform.
If you would like to discuss the ELD mandate more in-depth, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you in your search for a new trucking technology.