The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is in full swing, and up to a million drivers across the United States have yet to comply as of October 4th. This mandate requires all drivers currently logging hours of service with paper logs or logging software to a registered ELD if an automatic on-board device is not already in use. The rule also aims to prevent carrier processes that often leave drivers waiting long hours to load and unload freight, as well as driver cheating on paper logs.
With enforcement having begun December 18th, some states have proposed a delay of the rule set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Further confusion has arisen as tensions are expected to rise between carriers and shippers, and concerns such as the U.S. driver shortage, skepticism for drivers' privacy rights, and high costs of implementation leave trucking companies wary of impending changes.
To help clear the air and make the transition to technology as easy as possible, we gathered tips and advice from industry experts across the U.S.
1. What does the ELD mandate require?
Commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS) must use electronic logs.
ELDs must be certified and registered with FMCSA.
Specific supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep will be established.
Harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as map routing software) will be prohibited. The mandate also provides aid for drivers who believe they have been harassed.
2. Can drivers use ELDs on smartphones or other wireless devices?
Yes. Smartphones or other devices qualify for certified use if the device meets the mandate's technical standards. The ELD must be mounted in an upright, fixed position during vehicle operation, visible to the driver, and synced with the truck's engine to be compliant. To view the full list of specifications, click here.
3. How will driver privacy be protected?
When vehicles are operated during on-duty periods, location accuracy is within a 1-mile radius. When the driver operates the vehicle for personal use, location is tracked within a 10-mile radius as to protect driver privacy. Location tracking is not precise enough to track street addresses, and real-time vehicle tracking is not required in the ELD mandate.
As for ELD records of duty status, motor carrier companies must retain documents for six months including a backup of ELD data on a separate device. The carrier is required to ensure these documents are stored safely in the interest of driver privacy. These documents include:
Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the starting and ending location for each trip;
Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
Expense receipts related to “on-duty/not driving” periods (meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
Fleet management system communication records;
Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.
4. I am currently using an automated on-board recording device (AOBRD). What am I required to do?
Drivers currently using compliant AOBRDs that were in use before December 18th, 2017 are required to switch to compliant ELDs by December 16th, 2019. After this grace period, the trucks operating without ELDs will be fined and put out of service. If new trucks are bought within this time, ELDs must be installed; only AOBRDs that were in use before December 18th, 2017 may be removed and replaced.
5. Will the ELD mandate increase my operating costs?
The FMCSA estimates an average annual cost of an ELD will by $495 per truck with a total range of $165-$832 per truck on a yearly basis. With the ability to use smartphones and other portable devices already owned by drivers, implementation costs can be kept relatively low as opposed to those experienced over time (ex. $2,500 per device approximately 20 years ago), as well as other operating expenses such as fuel, liability insurance, and equipment.