In an effort to increase efficiency and safety, the new Hours of Service (“HOS”) regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) will be going into effect starting December 18, 2017. Part of this mandate requires that all qualified truck drivers eschew paper logbooks in favor of electronic records collected by an electronic logging device (“ELD”). Drivers will also be required to present the previous seven days’ worth of HOS data if requested by law enforcement.
For carriers using automatic onboard recording devices (“AOBRDs”) before December 18, 2017, the rule will replace AOBRDs with ELDs over a four-year implementation period.
What does this mean for you and your business?
The new ELD rule applies to you if your business involves interstate trucking, bus driving, or other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation that fits any of the following descriptions set by the FMCSA:
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
- Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
- Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Additionally, drivers who are subject to the rule must install and use ELDs by the appropriate deadline:
- Carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017.
- Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.
If this applies to you, then you will soon be required to replace your drivers’ paper logbooks with an ELD alternative.
So… what is an ELD, exactly?
An ELD is an electronic logging device that is used to automate the collection, tracking, and management of records of duty status data (“RODS”) that would normally be collected manually through a paper logbook — including mileage, driver status, and driving time. Generally, the ELD is connected to a vehicle’s engine or to an integrated data collection device, such as a GPS tracker.
Will switching to an ELD system cause inconvenience?
Not necessarily. While replacing your current process with an ELD system may sound like a hassle, the reality is that the advantages of such a system will only benefit you in the long run. Once properly installed, an ELD will automate the collection of data that will have previously only been recorded manually, removing the task from the hands of your drivers, as well as eliminating any human error and information tampering. The result is easier, more accurate recording of HOS data.
On top of that, the ELDs of today’s market can also be useful for integrating navigation information and recording different types of data beyond HOS compliance, such as Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and driver behavior (speeding, hard braking, idling, etc.)
For these reasons, despite their use being mandated, ELDs can bring many benefits to the table that will make it worth your while to start equipping your fleet with them as soon as possible, including:
- Elimination of paperwork and reduction of fuel costs
- Increased visibility for dispatchers, leading to optimized routes and improved ETAs
- Better safety and productivity, and increased ROI