Overview of the Mandate:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is mandating all non-exempt commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) in place of the current logbook method to verify compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.
How ELDs Work:
- Automatically tracks and uploads a driver’s HOS
- Integrally synchronize with a truck’s engine to ensure drive segments are captured
- Data is uploaded to a system where a safety or fleet manager can access it
The ELD mandate will take a total of four years and three phases to complete. In phase I, CMVs may voluntarily equip their fleets with Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) or certified ELDs before December 18, 2017. If your fleet has already been using an AOBRD or installed one voluntarily during phase I, you may continue to use that device throughout phase II which takes place over the next two years (12/18/19 – 12/16/19). If your fleet did not implement one of these devices before 12/18/17, you must install a certified ELD during phase II. During phase III, December 16, 2019, ALL CMVs must have certified, registered ELDs compliant of the mandate. AOBRDs will no longer be acceptable.
Since ELDs are mandated devices for CMVs, there is little to be done about any inconveniences they cause; instead focus on the wealth of benefits they provide:
- Saves drivers time and money by reducing paperwork
- Creates more accurate and neater logs since it’s done automatically and not hand written
- Keeps dispatchers up to date on a driver’s status allowing them better load planning in the future
- Provide reports that measure speed, breaking and accelerating to increase safety and help drivers in the event of an accident
- Decreases downtime by expediting roadside inspections – drivers can easily and confidently present police officers their logs
- Reduces crashes according to a study done by the Center of Truck and Bus Safety (see full study here)
- Some devices can integrate map and route solutions
You can choose the ELD of your choice provided it meets FMCSA requirements. You can even opt to use your smart phone or tablet if it is equipped with the necessary software to make it compliant with the mandate. This offers an additional benefit: many truck drivers already utilize smart phones to make their jobs easier. The ability to use their smart phones as EDLs makes it that much easier for them.