Why do we have the US ELD mandate regulations?
- The electronic logging device mandate, effective on Dec. 18th 2017, requires most carriers and drivers to convert from using paper logs or logging software to a registered ELD if they do not have an automatic on-board recording device in use.
- And to those drivers using AOBRDs prior to the mandate’s effective date will only be able to keep using them for two more years - until Dec. 16, 2019.
- It’s a mandate that has led to a lot of questions, with the government continuing to clarify and tweak the regulation over the last few months this year.
- We’ve endeavored to find answers to the most common questions that arise from the FMCSA training road shows, print media, drivers, owner-operators, fleet owners, and social media starting with the basics of the ELD mandate.
DRIVERS & ELDS
Also of key concern when the ELD mandate takes effect will be how thoroughly drivers — as well as fleet operational and maintenance personnel — are trained on the ins and outs of working under the new rule.
1. What electronic logging device (ELD) user accounts must be set up by a motor carrier?
ELD user accounts must be set up by a motor carrier for:
- Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who are employed by the motor carrier and who are required to use the ELD, and
- Support personnel who have been authorized by the motor carrier to create, remove, and manage user accounts; configure allowed ELD parameters; and access, review, and manage drivers’ ELD records on behalf of the motor carrier.
- A motor carrier must assign only one ELD driver account for each of its drivers required to use an ELD.
- Each driver account must be created by entering the driver’s license number and the state of jurisdiction that issued the driver’s license.
- The driver’s license information is only required to set up the driver’s user account and verify his or her identity; it is not used as part of the daily process for entering duty status information.
2. How much time does the daily logistics of running an ELD take?
- If your fleet is currently using paper logs, you will spend less time with ELDs, probably 15-30 minutes a day less for drivers, and several hours a week less for fleet managers (varies based on fleet size).
- ELDs will eliminate manual data entry, reducing errors and improving compliance, and fleet managers will only need to review exceptions - typically flagged by the ELD system - rather than every log entry.
3. What kind of training will my drivers need?
- Drivers need to know more than just how to operate the device itself.
- In addition, during the transition to mandatory ELDs, there’s bound to be some confusion during roadside inspections.
- For instance, if drivers are operating under any kind of exemption, it’s important that they understand that and be able to explain to enforcement officers what that exemption is and why they qualify.
- Per FMCSA, “The more training the companies can do and whatever kind of aids they can have for drivers, the easier the roadside inspection process will be.”
4. What are the most likely areas of confusion drivers will face who have only used paper logs?
- The use of a smart device or tablet may confuse some drivers, however, a majority of drivers already use a smartphone or tablet day-to-day.
- Logging in and out at the correct time – Logging out at the wrong time will create duty hours where there shouldn’t be any, and logging out too soon or too late will create a record that isn’t accurate.
- Drivers need to do duty changes when they occur and understand that the automatic changes cannot be changed.
- Operating past a limit and “fixing” the log at the end of the day is not possible with electronic logs.
- Finally, being able to converse with officers during roadside inspections can be a cause of confusion.
- Drivers who have no experience with electronic logs are often not familiar with the process during a roadside inspection and will not know what other materials the officer will be asking to see.
5. What are the most likely areas of confusion drivers will face who have been using AOBRDs?
- The roadside inspection process and the editing process will likely be the biggest sticking points for drivers switching from AOBRDs to ELDs.
- When using an AOBRD, the driver simply shows the officer the display and tells the officer he/she will have the company forward the records to the officer within 48 hours (if the driver cannot send them directly to the officer).
- If the driver is using an ELD, the driver must be able to send the records directly to the officer upon request, using either telematics or a local transfer method.
- As far as edits, an ELD system allows the drivers to edit more entries than a driver can in an AOBRD (editing driving time is still not allowed), and the driver must approve any edit made by back-office personnel.
- The ability to edit more and approve edits made by others will confuse drivers unless they are trained on the processes involved.
6. What documents are drivers required to carry with them in the cab?An ELD user manual
- An instruction sheet for transferring HOS data
- An instruction sheet for reporting possible ELD malfunctions
- A supply of paper log sheets as backup
7. How do you handle personal conveyance with ELDs?
- The rules about personal conveyance — drivers’ off-duty use of the truck as a personal vehicle — haven’t changed, but with ELDs, those miles will be recorded automatically, so the rules created an optional driving category for "authorized personal use," which is to be electronically recorded as off-duty time on line 1.
- For instance, if a carrier allows a driver to drive the truck home from the terminal for the weekend once he’s off duty, the driver can choose “personal conveyance” instead of the regular driving category.
- Per FMCSA, “If a driver is using the vehicle in such a way that it’s going to further the operational position of the carrier, then it’s not personal conveyance.”
- The most important recommendation is that whatever [carriers] decide to do about personal conveyance, that they document that and have some kind of policy they train the drivers on, so it is very clear whether they are or are not operating under personal conveyance.
8. What about unassigned driving? Will that be different from under AOBRDs?
- A driver must review any unassigned driving time when he or she logs into the ELD.
- If the unassigned records do not belong to the driver, the driver must indicate that in the ELD record.
- If driving time logged under this unassigned account belongs to the driver, the driver must add that driving time to his or her own record.
- A motor carrier must either explain why the time is unassigned or assign the time to the appropriate driver.
- The motor carrier must retain unidentified driving records for at least six months as a part of its HOS ELD records and make them available to authorized safety officials.
9. How are yard moves handled under ELDs and how is that different from AOBRDs or paper logs?
- The ELD mandate rules created a special driving category called “yard moves,” but its use is not required
- If used, the “yard moves” are electronically recorded as "on-duty, not driving time" on line 4.
- However, FMCSA did not provide a definition of a “yard.”
- So trucking companies have the opportunity to define a “yard” for their own operations, and they should also consider providing instructions and training to their drivers on whether, where and when they may select and use the yard moves driving category, he says.
- “No matter how each trucking company defines a 'yard,' and uses the ‘yard moves’ category, a critical item to address with drivers is that they must remember to select and unselect the yard moves category on the ELD for it to properly record the driving time on a yard as 'on-duty, not driving time.'”
10. What do I do when I need to put a driver in a short-term rental truck?
- FMCSA announced that it will grant an exemption from being required to use an electronic logging device to “all drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles rented for eight days or less, regardless of reason.”
- FMCSA’s ELD website says the motor carrier and the driver are responsible for ensuring that all of the RODS information required by the HOS rules is available for review by authorized safety officials at the roadside.
- If the driver uses multiple ELDs that are not compatible (e.g., the data file from one system cannot be uploaded into the other system), the driver must either manually enter the missing duty status information or provide a printout from the other system(s) so that an accurate accounting of the duty status for the current and previous seven days is available for the authorized safety official.
11. What do drivers do who work for more than one company?
- One of the shortcomings of the ELD rule is that it will cause problems for drivers who are working for a driver service or a temporary driver pool.
- These drivers will be unable to transfer their hours of service information from one carrier to another.
- Even though this probably applies to a relatively small group of drivers, it will cause them considerable inconvenience.
- This is known as inter-operability, and in drafting its rule, FMCSA chose not to address it.
12. How are team drivers handled under ELDs?
- In the event of team drivers, the ELD must display the data for both co-drivers who are logged into the system.
- The driver who is not operating the vehicle may make entries over his or her own records when the vehicle is in motion.
- However, co-drivers cannot switch driving roles on the ELD when the vehicle is in motion.
- If one driver forgot to log out, the driver account associated with the driving time records may be edited and reassigned between the team drivers.
- If there was a mistake resulting in a mismatch between the actual driver and the driver recorded by the ELD, and if both team drivers were indicated in one another’s records as a co-driver.
- Each co-driver must confirm the change for the corrective action to take effect.
13. How will slip seating work under ELDs?
- Slip-seating drivers will sign in to the ELD under their unique user identification and then sign out each time they start and finish their driving shift
14. What about my independent contractors?
- Ultimately, an independent contractor or owner-operator is responsible to be compliant with the ELD mandate.
- However, for compatibility reasons, independent contractors and owner-operators, may choose to use the ELD solution of the carrier they are working for.
- Talk to an expert in independent contractor law to figure out if you can require a certain device without running afoul of "employee misclassification" issues.
- Owner-operators working under their own authority will have to acquire their own FMCSA-compliant ELD.
- Since the owner-operator in this case is also the carrier, the owner-operator will have two accounts; one as a fleet manager (the back end) and one as a driver (the in-cab device).
- The rule requires those accounts to be separate.
References and Thank You
- FMCSA 2017 Training Roadshows
- Indiana State Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division – Facebook Live - Officer Brent Hoover
- Truckinginfo.com – 70 Answers to Top ELD Questions