EOBRs, AOBRDs and ELDs—oh my! With the final ruling on the Electronic Logging Device Mandate (ELD Mandate) last December, many fleets and drivers are trying to figure out how best to implement compliant technology while maintaining efficiencies in their business operations.
This period of transition can be a confusing time, especially with a range of different timelines and technology requirements. For a quick refresher, remember that:
Regardless of what deadline applies to you, here are a few important things to keep in mind to help you better understand the mandate and allow for a less-complicated implementation:
Familiarize Yourself with Scope of Mandate: One of the first things to realize is that the ELD mandate changes how driver logs are recorded. Instead of paper log books or outdated technology, drivers will have to electronically record their Hours of Service (HOS) through a device that is directly connected to the truck’s engine.
While the mandate changes technology, it doesn’t change any of the rules related to HOS. This is just a different way to collect that information, with the aim of improving how hours are logged to decrease violations and make the roads safer.
Educate Drivers on Technology: Once you choose a compliant device, it is crucial that your drivers are familiar with the technology and how to use it. Device know-how is important for a couple of reasons: Not only will drivers be interacting with the devices throughout the day, but they will also have to use them to produce their logs during roadside inspections.
ELDs must be able to transfer data electronically by either A) a “telematics” method via Wireless web service or email; or B) a “local” method capable of sending data via Bluetooth or USB 2.0. All electronic logging devices must conform to a standard display or printout format with a defined log header, graph grid and log event details.
These multiple options mean that enforcement officers will have a wide array of ways to connect to devices and access logs. The more adept your drivers are at producing their logs, the faster a roadside inspection will go.
Remember that Drivers Own Their Logs: Under the new mandate, drivers have ownership of their logs. While back office support can suggest edits to a log, a driver must approve them in-cab. A driver will also have access to six months’ worth of logs.
In addition, all annotations, changes and comments to the log must be saved alongside the original. Not only do these changes give drivers more ownership, but this collection of electronic records can help a fleet maintain compliance.
Consider Impact of Mandate Beyond Fleets: Changing from a paper-based operation is going to affect many different aspects of your business, from drivers to dispatch. It is important to note that these changes go beyond just impacting your fleet, including how enforcement officers do their job.
Like drivers, many officers are used to inspections that include referencing paper driver logs or older technology. Keep in mind this learning curve will not only allow roadside inspections to go smoothly, but it will help us all realize the mandate’s goals of improved safety and reduction in violations.
The ELD Mandate is complex, but remembering these tips can help make the transition less daunting for fleets and their drivers.