Monday | October 23, 2017

5 Tips to Comply with Electronic Logging Mandates in 2017

By the end of this year, all of your trucks should comply with new electronic logging mandates and utilize electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Although this mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was designed for over-the-road truckers, the asphalt industry must also watch these regulations closely to ensure compliance. Plus, with the value of telematics in our industry, these e-logs could be useful beyond simply following the rules.

According to the FMCSA, the mandate aims to create a safer work environment for drivers and makes tracking duty status easier by replacing paper duty status logs with electronic logs. The administration estimates the mandate will save the industry $1 billion in time and money on paperwork, and save 26 lives and 562 injuries per year.

However, a recent survey by the Commercial Carrier Journal estimates that almost half of all fleets have yet to implement e-logs. So, there’s still a long way to go to ensure compliance across all industries. If your fleet is in the 50 percent still in the process of implementing e-logs, here are five things you need to know.

1) It doesn’t apply to all drivers.

Not all drivers must use ELDs. Drivers who keep records of duty status on eight or fewer days out of every 30 days, drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations, and drivers with pre-2000 year-model trucks are exempt.

2) It doesn’t change hours of service rules.

Although the ELD mandate changes the way your drivers will be expected to report their duty status, it does not change any hours of service rules. E-logs are only capable of determining when a vehicle is stopped and the driver is not in driving status.

For example, the ELD will automatically put the driver in driving status when the vehicle goes more than 5 miles per hour. If the driver isn’t logged into the ELD when he begins driving, he will need to reconcile that “unassigned driving” time at his next login.

Additionally, when he’s been stopped for 5 minutes, the ELD will ask if the driver would like to remain on drive status or switch to on-duty. In the case of traffic congestion, the driver will be able to switch to on-duty and not lose drive time. Another important feature is the ability to log movements while loading and unloading as on duty “yard time” status.

Drivers will also be able to accept or reject edits to logbook records. For example, if a mechanic was working on the vehicle and took it for a test drive without logging that time, the driver will be able to accept or reject that entry as part of his records.

3) Drivers still need to provide supporting documents.

Despite e-logs, drivers must keep a maximum of eight supporting documents in either electronic or paper format for every 24-hour period that includes on-duty time. Examples include receipts, dispatch records and schedules, among others.

Supporting documentation should be submitted to the driver’s carrier within 13 days, and carriers, as well as owner-operators, should keep it on file along with records of duty status for six months.

4) ELDs aren’t a way to harass drivers.

FMCSA originally aimed for an ELD mandate in 2010, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided the mandate left drivers vulnerable to harassment from carriers via the ELDs. However, in its 2015 mandate, FMCSA spelled out provisions to safeguard drivers, including making such use of the devices illegal, establishing a system for drivers to report such instances, and putting fines in place for violating anti-harassment rules.

It’s important to note that harassment is defined as any action by a carrier toward a driver that the carrier “knew or should have known” would interrupt a driver’s off-duty time, and it only covers harassment explicitly via the ELD.

5) There are a handful of hardware specifications to follow.

To meet minimum standards, ELDs will be required to record date, time and location automatically, and must sync with the vehicle’s engine to record engine on and off time and vehicle miles, as well as driver identification information. They do not have to track a driver or vehicle in real time and are not required to include driver-carrier communication capabilities.

However, they must be capable of transferring data during roadside inspections. There are three options to meet this requirement. ELDs can employ telematics to share information via email and web services, use local file transfer such as Bluetooth or USB, or share info by traditional logbook grid display or print out a summary report during roadside inspection.

Carriers using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) before the compliance date of December 2017 will have an extra two years to comply with the ELD mandate, and most AOBRDs are likely to be made ELD-compliant via over-the-air software updates.

ELD manufacturers must meet these specifications and register their devices with the FMCSA. For a list of registered ELDs, visit bit.ly/eldoptions.

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