When searching online for the latest information about truck drivers and electronic logging devices, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the mountain of information regarding device features, mandates, exemption requirements, etc. The following is a brief guide about electronic logging devices and the government mandates that surround them.
What Is An Electronic Logging Device?
Also known as ELDs, these devices are also frequently referenced as e-logs or electronic logbooks. In the simplest of explanations, ELDs are devices that are connected to a commercial vehicle. The device allows carriers and truckers the ability to track their Hours of Service to make sure they are in compliance.
In the past, this type of tracking was completed via paper logbooks. The driver would just add his/her time driving on the road in the logbook, and make a note of the time they started driving when they took breaks or made a stop. They were also responsible for noting when they completed their day and how long they were off during their working hours.
By installing an ELD on the commercial motor vehicle, paper logging has become obsolete. However, in order for these devices to be compliant, it requires two basic parts.
The first part of the device is a physical component that synchronizes with the engine in the vehicle. According to bestelddevices.org although there are many different types of ELDs on the market, most connections occur through a plug-in ELD between the motor and the device. This plug-in connects through either the JBUS port or the OBDI port.
The second mandated component is the display device. These are usually available in the form of a smartphone, tablet, or another Bluetooth-capable display device. However, there are some display devices that do not require a Bluetooth connection.
What Are The Mandates?
There is plenty of information available regarding the mandates in both the United States and Canada, but many people, especially truck drivers, seem to still be confused. The FMCSA has been regulating the compliance of these devices for many years because of the MAP-21. As a result, a very detailed database has been established that goes into more information that surrounds the intricacies and uncertainties that are a part of ELDs.
In Canada, the mandate will not be enforced until the summer of 2021 (June 12). The ELD mandate was enforced in the United States on December 18, 2017.
The majority of the official information that has been published is full of legislative and legal jargon that is difficult for the average person to understand.
To put it simply, the ELD mandate is a set of regulations and rules that requires commercial motor carriers to install electronic logging devices that will process and track HOS and RODS data. This mandate has caused a major shift and shakeup in the commercial carrier industry.
Fortunately, most of the HOS rules will not change. The mandate is more of a change from paper logging to electronic logging.
Concerns and questions about the costs of these devices, compliance, and driver pay will likely continue to be hot topics of conversation and debate. However, ELDs are required in the United States, and truckers are finding ways to adjust to this new normal.
An electronic logging device is a gadget that is useful for tracking the working hours of a car and the period in which the engine has been operating. The central device location is at the heart of the vehicle. It is commonly known as an ELD. The equipment is mandatory for all commercial drivers to be able to keep a consistent and accurate record of duty status, RODS. The regulation is as per the hours of service compliances, HOS. Apart from tracking the working hours of drivers, another important use of the device is to allow a driver to log in and select if they are on duty, off duty, or on a mission but not necessarily driving.
Function Of The ELD.
An efficient electronic logging device should be able to allow for clear transmission of the information to the relevant law enforcement unit. The kind of data should be in a standard format that you can send through Bluetooth, USB, or via a wireless web service. Furthermore, when purchasing the device, ensure you get one that is certified to work efficiently by meeting all the proper requirements. In other instances, an ELD can quickly help a driver get information of any faults on the vehicle since it can diagnose the faults by sending different codes. Your location is also available on the board for better guidance during driving.
Mode Of Operation.
The device works by getting access to all the information on the vehicles onboard diagnostics, OBD, port. It then sends the data immediately from the engine. The action can take place whether the motor is working or not. Relevant information includes the amount of fuel used and how long the vehicle was in motion. Since it has an inbuilt GPS, the device helps in providing the exact location of the car in real-time. Furthermore, ELD has gyroscopes and accelerometers. The two features are vital because they detect movement of the vehicle and provide the driver with clear visibility to avoid the occurring of issues like harsh braking or turning while the path isn’t clear.
Transferring Of Data.
Since the ELD is a mandatory aspect for vehicles, you will be prone to be pulled over by roadside inspection officers for them to confirm if you are adhering to the regulations or not. After confirming that you have the device, they will ask to review the data as per your ELD. The relevant data will involve your movements for the past seven days to ensure no violations occurred during those days. Using the transferring methods as mentioned earlier, the inspector will need to share the information with their gadget for proper verifications. Of the three modes of sharing data, the wireless is the quickest and most effective among the others. Therefore, as per regulations, drivers are highly advised to use this channel and not the other two.
Although the primary function of ELD is to keep track of vehicles working hours, it is also beneficial to the drivers. It eliminates the stress of having to find out your exact location because of the GPS in it. Furthermore, you suffer less risk of making instant breaks, which might lead to significant accidents.
An Electronic logging device is a gadget utilized by commercial drivers, mostly truckers, to monitor and record the basic operations of the vehicle. The primary device location is near the engine. It helps drivers to track their driving hours of service, HOS. The working hours of truckers have to be per regulations set out by the driving hours governing body. The name of this organization will vary depending on the exact location where a driver is using the vehicle. All drivers using commercial truckers must keep records of their duty status, RODS, by the help of the ELD. You should ensure the ELD you are using is operating while complying with all the rules of the HOS.
Before you start using any ELD, it is essential to get the confirmation of some crucial features just to ensure it will serve its purpose. The ELD should display the record of duty status graphically to enable the driver to see the hours they have driven in a day. A driver should see the hours while sitting using less effort. Secondly, since the ELD has a direct attachment to the engine, it should also have the capacity to detect if the vehicle is in motion or not. Another important aspect is the allowing of drivers to log in and make a selection of whether they are on duty, off duty, or in other instances on a working mission but not explicitly driving.
Also, the ELD should have all the necessary certifications from the provider to be able to be fully functional. The data provision mode should be in a standard way to easily enable transmissions to law regulatory organizations in various ways. Simple methods of communication include USB, Bluetooth, or internet services.
Previously, truckers were using paper logs for tracking their hours of service. They were commonly known as electronic onboard recorders, EOBR. The device had high-efficiency levels by improving the data accuracy, but unfortunately, there was no consistency. The format in the displaying of data kept changing; therefore, a need to keep regenerating the logs kept arising. According to the RODS, this inconsistency only meant less accuracy and hence the introduction of the ELD.
Apart from monitoring the activities of a vehicle, whether during movement or not, the ELD is beneficial to the trucker to help them offer services while they also better themselves. An ELD has a unique component to manage fleet behavior and systems. The Fleet management system, FMS, further has additional advantageous features. Such features include a decrease in the costs of fuel, lowering of the crashing overhead rates, simplification of the regulatory compliances, and a reduction in the truck’s downtime. Truckers operate better, knowing the system has their interests also catered for as well as the vehicle.
Using an ELD is not optional according to the law enforcement regulations. All operators of a commercial motor vehicle have no option but to incorporate the ELD in their daily motorist operations. However, there is an exemption for commercial drivers who use towaways, drivers transporting new and old empty vehicles for sale, leasing or repair and maintenance purposes.