What is an ELD?
An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is defined as a device or technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and facilitates the accurate recording of the driver’s hours of service, and meets the technical and functional requirements of Subpart B of 49 C.F.R. Part 395. An ELD must be self-certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
An ELD device must connect to the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) engine to record vehicle information during the driver’s duty status changes and during driving events. ELDs are an evolution of fleet management solutions and utilize the types of technologies: GPS, wireless and/or satellite communications and cloud-based services for storing, accessing and manipulating data. In fact, many of the ELDs on the market today are updated versions of fleet management devices that have been on the market for many years.
A brief history of CMV Driver Safety Regulations leading to the ELD
The first Hours of Service laws impacting truck and bus drivers hit the books back in 1937 and those original laws are still reflected in today’s HOS laws. In 2000, the US Department of Transportation created the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.
The FMCSA published the Electronic Logging Device mandate in the December 16, 2015 Federal Register. Prior to that, Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) had been in use starting in the mid-1980’s. Those devices were required to connect to the engine to record engine hours, speed, mileage and time. ELDs, however, must automatically capture driving times, and meet more rigorous technology standards defined by the FMCSA.
The ELD Mandate
On December 16, 2015, the FMCSA mandated that as of December 18, 2017, motor carriers must use certified ELDs or grandfathered AOBRDs to record HOS logs for most interstate drivers of commercial motor vehicles. Grandfathered AOBRDs placed into service before December 18, 2017 would need to be upgraded to ELD specifications before December 16, 2019. The mandate affected millions of drivers and trucks can be placed out-of-service (OOS) if they aren’t compliant.
To learn more about the ELD regulations, review the Quick Guide to the ELD Mandate.
Self-certified vs independently verified ELD devices
All manufacturers of ELDs must certify that their products meet the rules governing the technical standards of the ELD mandate. FMCSA’s registry shows all the self-certified and registered devices here.
While the FMCSA ELD mandate doesn’t require independent verification of ELD devices, some ELD suppliers like EROAD have had third parties certify their technologies. We realize unbiased verification and peace of mind have great value to fleet operations. Our compliance = your compliance.
Why are ELDs mandated?
Long periods of commercial driving can be physically tiring on drivers. Numerous studies show fatigue is a major factor in increasing road accident rates which has attracted the attention of news media, regulators and the public. Awareness of the matter contributed to the ELD mandate requiring drivers to accurately log driving hours and minimize the falsification around their hours of service and record of duty status (RODS).
Because of the high incidence of paper logbook inaccuracies, the ELD compliance mandate requires the replacement of paper logs with ELDs. The devices must automatically record a driver for accurate reporting.
What type of operations does the ELD mandate affect?
All commercial driving operations must keep hours of service records. This includes interstate CMV drivers currently required to keep RODS, vehicles with placarded hazmat loads, weighing more than 10,001 pounds and carrying more than 8 or 15 passengers (determined by the vehicle class).
Intrastate CMV drivers may also be subject to the ELD mandate. Depending on the state’s timetable for adoption of the federal regulations, an intrastate CMV driver may have longer to adopt and implement an ELD. For example, Texas intrastate carriers have until December 16, 2019 to adopt ELDs.
How do ELDs work?
ELD devices automatically capture driving time and records engine data, miles driven and movement. Telematics systems synchronize the ELD device through a hardwired connection with the engine. A user-friendly touchscreen on the ELD lets drivers view information, add notes to or edit their logs, and easily show their record of duty status at roadside inspections. EROAD ELDs provide a secure, reliable connection to our web-based portal where real-time data and reports can be viewed or transmitted on demand.
ELDs show drivers simple graphics with their Record of Duty Status (RODS), so they are aware of their daily Hours of Service anytime at a glance. The ELD mandate dictates that all ELD data is displayed in a format that’s standardized, and can be transferred to the law enforcement official via either: the Local option such as Bluetooth 2.0 and -USB; or the Telematics option such as via wireless web services and email.
ELDs: an evolution of fleet management solutions
ELD systems aren’t mere logging tools. They often become the backbone of fleet management. Once implemented, ELDs provide performance metrics that can help companies improve on-time performance, cut fuel consumption, improve driver behavior and situational awareness, streamline their deliveries and cut overall costs.
ELD compliance can protect everyone’s safety while helping fleets avoid the high financial losses incurred by accidents and legal challenges. A FMCSA report found that commercial drivers using electronic logs reduced their total crash rate by 11.7% and lowered their preventable crash rate 5.1% compared to drivers in trucks not equipped with e-logs.
Issues that have arisen from the ELD Mandate
Paper versus electronic
ELD compliance regulations includes provisions that offer drivers peace of mind. For instance, if driving in personal conveyance mode, their location data can only be available within a 10-mile radius. The DOT will not know a driver’s every move. And no, ELD devices can’t shut down a truck.
Benefits of ELD devices beyond safety
How can ELD devices save time and money? They can cut costs, burdens and increase profits in numerous ways actually.
ELD systems like EROAD’s can dramatically reduce costs associated with manual paperwork. ELD data enables fleet management to score drivers by tracking performance through meaningful metrics. EROAD’s Leaderboard can show which drivers may be higher risks – like habitual speeders, harsh brakers or sudden accelerators.
Motor carriers can reduce administrative time and associated costs with ELDs. Thanks to ELD compliance, carriers may now negotiate lower liability insurance premiums by lowering the drivers’ rate of risk events. Also, through accident recreation, data from the ELD can provide the proof needed to enable motor carriers to more easily defend themselves in court and potentially avoid major legal costs.
The FMCSA in its Regulatory Impact Analysis for ELDs estimates annual paperwork savings per driver include: Driver submitting RODS at $56, driver filing of RODS at $487, clerk filing RODS at $120, and elimination of paper driver log-books at $42. In accident reduction savings, the FMCSA figures an average safety benefit of $126 per short-haul ELD and $187 per long-haul ELD user.
Carriers should consider these important ELD features
Ease of use in the cab
Recording and reporting features
The EROAD ELD difference
Successfully implementing an ELD solution involves more than installing the new system or training your fleet. With EROAD, becoming compliant is simple. Our intuitive, driver-friendly ELD, secure web portal and training support have been designed to meet all your needs. From one convenient platform, fleets can capture accurate data automatically and get real-time notifications and reports.
You can be confident that EROAD provides an ELD solutions that ensures FMCSA compliance with the ELD mandate. Contact us today to run a safer, more efficient fleet while reducing the burdens and costs of outdated technology.