The ELD Mandate: What Fleet Managers Need to Know

Jennifer GuerriniThe electronic logging device (ELD) rule effective date is around the corner – are you ready? Being “ready” means not only installing devices but also allowing time for drivers to get comfortable with the new technology.

Published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD rule goes into effect December 18, 2017. The FMCSA estimates it will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries involving large commercial motor vehicle crashes each year.

Under the ELD, carriers and drivers who keep records of duty status (RODS) must now log this information electronically. The technology used is critical: The ELD devices selected must be certified and registered with the FMCSA. Other devices may not be compliant.

Although you may have heard rumors to the contrary, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is ready to start enforcing the new rule. There will be a phased-in approach in the first six months; however, a carrier can still be cited and fined for violations.

Time is of the essence.

Does My Fleet Need to Use an ELD?

Commercial vehicles will be required to use ELDs unless they are exempt. Carriers already using an electronic log under the FMCSA’s current AOBRD (automatic on-board recording device) standard have until December 16, 2019 to switch to ELDs, which are essentially a more sophisticated version of AOBRDs.

Other exemptions to the ELD rule include:

  •  Operators who were already allowed certain exemptions, such as the 100-air-mile-radius exemption (for operators who fall within distance and time criteria) and agricultural exemptions.
  • New exemptions that are specific to ELDs, including for older engines (before the model year 2000) and for drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Vehicles that are the commodity being delivered.

Drivers operating under an exemption need to be able to explain to any officer what that exemption is and why they qualify.

What about rental trucks? If you’re required to have an ELD, drivers need the current day and previous 7 RODS available for inspection. The driver should print out those logs to keep in the truck or should be able to show any officer the information on their phone or tablet.

Other Things Drivers Should Know

Drivers should also know the type of technology; are they using an AOBRD or an ELD? An ELD requires additional documentation: a manual and information on data transfer.

The bottom line is that drivers must understand and be able to use ELDs by the deadline. That includes being versed in procedures such as how to edit RODS, certify RODS, and collect required supporting documents.

December will be here before you know it. Be ready.

Jenn Guerrini, MS, CSP, CDS, CSS, ASP, is Vice President and Executive Auto Specialist with Chubb Risk Engineering Services.

Categories: Commercial Auto
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