Answering the 10 most common ELD mandate questions.
February 25, 2016
The highly anticipated electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is making a splash in the industry with its release. As fleets start to install and update ELD technology to meet new requirements, there are a number of folks seeking answers to general inquiries about the changes.
In this post, we've rounded up some of the most common questions surrounding the ruling and how it will potentially impact the freight shipping industry and beyond.
Q: What is an electronic logging device (ELD)?
A: In the simplest form, an electronic logging device (ELD)1 is an electronic solution that allows professional truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to efficiently record and track their hours of service (HOS).
Q: What is the ELD mandate?
A: The FMCSA amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to optimize performance and design standards for hours of service (HOS) ELDs. The ELD decision was released by the FMCSA on December 10, 20152 with a 516-page mandate.
Q: What does an electronic logging device (ELD) do?
A: ELD capabilities3 include (but are not limited to):
- Connecting to a truck's engine to track when the truck is in motion.
- Enabling the truck driver to log in and pick "On-duty," Off-duty," or "On-Duty and Not Driving."
- Displaying a record of duty status so the driver can quickly glance hours in a day.
- Offering data in a standardized format that can be transmitted to law enforcement in multiple ways (i.e. wireless web services, USB or Bluetooth 2.0).
- Being registered on the FMCSA website.
Q: What's the difference between AOBRDs, EOBRs and ELDs?
A: While the terms AOBRD, EOBR and ELD4 are frequently used interchangeably, they have unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.
- AOBRD: The FMCSA uses the term "Automatic On-Board Recording Device" when describing an electronic device that meets requirements to be used rather than paper logbooks.
- EOBR: "Electronic Onboard Recorder" is the term used when referring to the device that stores electronic logging applications.
- ELD: The "Electronic Logging Device" is used as part of the current language to describe the systems in the new mandate. ELDs sync with a fleet's engine to track power and motion status, miles driven and engine hours, while EOBRs and AOBRDs do not.
Q: When does the ELD mandate go into effect?
A: Fleets have until November 30th, 20172 to transition to ELDs. Drivers already using AOBRDs have until November 30th, 2019 to meet ELD mandate requirements.
Q: How do you determine if your truck is affected by the ELD mandate?
A: The ruling applies to all drivers who are currently required to keep paper records of duty status (RODS). Drivers who have to keep RODS in eight or more days out of every 30 days are required to use an ELD. The FMCSA anticipates this mandate to impact 3.4 million4 drivers.
Q: Can a smartphone or other wireless device be used as an electronic logging device?
A: As long as the device meets the technical requirements and is certified and registered with the FMCSA6, yes.
Q: How does the ELD mandate save the industry time and money?
A: The FMCSA estimates that the average truck driver fills out about 240 RODS per year. As a result, the ELD mandate is projected to save each truck driver about 20+ hours of time used to fill and send paper driver logs. Furthermore, paperwork savings for each driver per year are estimated to be about $705.3
The mandate will further help the industry through:
- Reducing fuel costs: By monitoring excessive truck idle times, companies can build incentive programs for drivers that help boost fuel efficiency.
- Slashing truck downtime: Fleet management system users can see decreased vehicle downtimes by 15% and improved vehicle utilization by 13%.
- Heightening safety: Drivers using ELDs have a drastically lower total crash rate (decrease of 11.7%) and a preventable crash rate (decrease of 5.1%) versus fleets not using ELDs. 3
Q: What are the exceptions to the rule?
A: While this rule will affect millions of commercial drivers, there are situations7 that are exempt from the mandate:
- Short-haul drivers: Drivers who use the 100 air-mile radius exception or 150 air-mile radius exception.
- Driveaway-towaway operations: If the commercial truck is being handled as part of a shipment (the truck is the product being shipped).
- Pre-2000 vehicles: Vehicle models dated 1999 or prior based on the vehicle identification number (VIN).
Q: What are the benefits of electronic logging devices?
A: ELDs help avoid deliberate and unintentional HOS violations, as well as fines to the driver due to mistakes in paper logs. Better compliance with HOS rules ensures drivers have adequate rest to operate commercial vehicles safely.8
While there are certainly more questions out there regarding the ELD mandate, we hope this post helps you get better acquainted with the mandate and how it will affect the shipping industry.
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