Q: What is an Electronic Logging device (ELD)?

Electronic logging device (ELD) is a term used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to describe a device that records a driver’s hours of service and all changes of duty status.

The final rule published by the FMCSA on December 16, 2015 states that the ELD device must capture data elements from both the driver and the electronic control module (ECM). Some of the required elements include geographical location, miles driven each day, engine hours (from the ECM), time in each duty status and available hours in the current day and duty cycle.

The FMCSA goal of the use of ELDs is to improve compliance with the Hours of Service (HOS), create efficiencies for drivers and commercial inspectors, and create a safer environment on the roads.

Q: Are ELDs only for the drivers based in the United States?

All drivers that operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States, that are not exempt from using an ELD, must comply with the Federal HOS. So, if you are a Canadian or Mexican domiciled carrier, but drive on US roadways, you are not exempt from this rule.

Q: How does an ELD increase efficiencies for drivers and companies?

There are several ways an ELD is expected to increase efficiencies.

  1. Driver paperwork is more legible. Handwritten logs can often be difficult to read
  2. Decrease in the time a driver HOS and vehicle inspection information is submitted to the carrier. The ELD is connected to software that syncs on a regular basis. The carrier can log into the software to view HOS and e-inspections rather than waiting for the driver to return to home base and submit their paperwork. With paper, it may be a week or two before the carrier receives the driver’s paperwork. Being able to login to a software platform, gives supervisors and safety officers an opportunity to coach a driver on HOS rules, and fleet managers the ability to schedule a time to correct any defects found in the moment
  3. Decrease in the time to self-audit driver paperwork. Carriers and supervisors with access to the software can review HOS and e-inspections to ensure drivers are not being overscheduled, paperwork is in good standing, and vehicles are operating without defects or can quickly schedule repairs needed
  4. Increased visibility for dispatchers in regards to driver’s available hours. Dispatchers and supervisors can log into the software platform to view a driver’s availability, which improves scheduling and helps prevent overextending or harassing drivers
  5. More efficient inspections by government inspectors. With a standard output in typed format, a government inspector or auditor can quickly review driver HOS

Q: How can the ELD rule strengthen the connection between Health and Safety (EHS), Fleet Management and Dispatching departments?

Even if you are not a traditional transportation company, but have a fleet to move your own product, the government views you as a transportation company. The ELD rule can help a company’s Health and Safety (EHS), Fleet Management and Dispatching departments to work closer together on creating a safe work environment.

A company’s safety team is usually in charge of maintaining compliance with government regulations, including the driver Record of Duty Status (RODS) and HOS. The decreased paperwork submission and audit times allows the safety team to become more proactive and behavioral rather than being reactive.

Fleet managers can benefit from the decreased submission times for vehicle inspections, this will help them to identify issues with the vehicles faster and enabling a much quicker response time. Fleet managers can coordinate with the dispatch department to communicate with the drivers, to schedule preventative or required maintenance.

If dispatchers have the ability to view a driver’s available time, this should help with planning and routing drivers. Communication is increased with customers and coordinating with the fleet management department should repairs or servicing be required on vehicles and trailers. It will also help prevent harassment towards drivers that would result in the driver violating the HOS rules.

Q: Are there opportunities to get more out of a software and APP than just driver logs?

SOAR Solutions has the ability to work with our customers to add customized operational features specific to their company processes. This allows them to track more information from their operations to help them make more informed decisions.

Q: What are the three most important key elements of this legislation not covered in the executive summary?

  1. The retention, sharing and destruction of ELD data submitted for inspection or audit by the Federal Government. The final rule does not outline what the Federal Government will do with the downloaded ELD information from motor carriers or how long they will retain the information before destroying it
  2. Editing ELD logbooks, full details are under section 4.3.2.8.2 in the final rule. There are limits to what data can be edited by both the driver and the motor carrier. Anytime an edit is made, an original version of the records must be maintained. Driver edits include entering missing information, annotate the ELD records. Electronically recorded driving time cannot be shortened. All edits must be annotated with a reason for the change. Anyone making edits must have a unique login ID. Any edits made by the motor carrier requires the driver to confirm the changes and certify the updated record
  3. Real time tracking of the vehicles is not required. The ELD data records will include some data elements like location, engine power up and engine power down, and 1 hour interval when the vehicle is driving, but it does not require real-time tracking of the vehicle. The precision of the location data is to be approximately a 1 mile radius when the driver’s status is indicated as “driving”. However, when the vehicle is being used for authorized personal use, as indicated by the driver’s duty status, the precision will be a 10 mile radius. The 10 mile radius is used to protect the driver’s privacy