The ‘how” has changed, but not the ‘why.”

The trucking industry has shifted into a new era of technology. Carriers must use an FMCSA registered ELD for Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. While the “how” of tracking HOS has changed, the “why” has not. Let’s review some of these changes, as well as the things that have remained the same.


What has changed:


1. Precision of technology

ELDs are more precise in recording driver’s driving and duty times. Prior to the ELD mandate, a driver could take a 28-minute break and round up with paper and pen. Now, ELDs are down to the second. Drivers need to make sure to take a full 30-minutes in order to ensure compliance.


2. Log transfers at roadside

The new age of ELD requires digital data transfers from the device to the inspector. ELDs must transfer HOS data to safety officials for roadside inspections and audits.

For successful inspections, make sure your driver knows which transfer options their ELD is equipped for and how to transfer the files (Telematics – web services and email or Local – USB and Bluetooth). If the transfer is not available for any reason, the ELD must have a backup option to present the driver’s log information to enforcement by either display or printout. Compliant ELDs are designed so that a safety official can read the display without entering the truck.

According to FMCSA, the transfer rate of roadside logs is way up since the ELD mandate was first introduced, which is good news. This means that carriers are doing the right things from a back-office standpoint and that drivers are getting the hang of how to use their ELD. 


3. Managing unidentified trips

Unidentified trips are created when a vehicle equipped with an ELD is driven, without anyone logging in to the device. It may be a driver that forgets to log in or a mechanic that hops in the truck for a quick test drive. Even if you don’t login, that time is still on the ELD, and you’ll have to deal with it one way or another. To avoid citations and fines, be sure to establish processes to manage your unidentified trips.

See how EROAD solved the unidentified trips problem.


What has stayed the same:


1. Driver input still required

While an ELD’s automated nature takes much of the pressure off drivers on recording time stamps, state crossings, location and drive time, drivers still need to give their input. Drivers must understand how to use their ELD to go on and off duty, add remarks, review and certify logs daily. Other instances of driver input and understanding may include doing pre- and post-inspections on their device and updating shipping documents and trailer numbers.


2. Importance of Training

Training will never go out of style. Continual and updated training on ELDs for all areas of the business will ensure employees are following appropriate compliance protocol and adhering to company policy. Group staff safety training or 1:1 coaching are both great initiatives to hold regularly with drivers.


3. Carrier management

With ELD technology, carriers no longer have to try to read a driver’s handwriting, but they still need to manage and review driver logs. Carriers should become familiar with their back-office software so they can easily manage compliance. Make sure to check for:

  • Proper use of Yard Moves and Personal Conveyance
  • Ensure that drivers are certifying their logs
  • Missing form and manner information including shipping documents and trailers
  • Correctly input duty statuses, especially for drivers that forget to go off-duty at the end of their shift


While ELDs have changed the way we do things, the rules and regulations are still the same. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the benefits your new technology has to offer to keep your fleet safe and happy in 2020.  See how EROAD’s ELD makes compliance easy.

Soona Lee

Director, Regulatory Compliance - North America
Soona Lee is responsible for understanding regulatory context and policies and technical requirements and translating them for development of the company's suite of compliance products.

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