It has been two years since the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) regulations came into effect in the United States. Developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the law applies to carriers and drivers of heavy-duty vehicles who are required to complete log books and who travel within the United States. Canadian and Mexican transportation companies must also comply with the rule when crossing into the United States.

On December 16, 2019, the transitional phase that allowed the use of the AOBRD system will end. After this date, all carriers must comply with the ELD Rule, barring a few exceptions. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, if a truck is not equipped with a registered and compliant ELD or who have not converted their AOBRD system to an ELD, the driver will be considered to have no record of duty status. Truck drivers without such a status would be placed out of service for 10 hours, as per North American out-of-service criteria.

To help you become familiar with the specificities of ELDs, we have assembled five key elements to know and understand.

Roadside inspection and ELD data transfers

During roadside inspections in the United States, drivers must transfer information in one of two ways accepted by the FMCSA. The first option for connected devices is to electronically transfer hours of service data by web service or email. The second option, for local devices, is to electronically transfer hours of service data using a USB 2.0 drive or via Bluetooth®. The inspector receives the information and analyzes it using the Electronic Records of Duty Status (eRODS) recorder. To ensure compliance at all times, drivers must also be able to display their hours of service on-screen or in print.

Driving detection

The speed at which the electronic log book automatically switches to driving mode cannot be configured. As soon as the vehicle reaches 5 mph (8 km/h), the hours of service status automatically indicates driving. Drivers who have to move their vehicles in a yard and do not want the log book to switch to driving mode can select the “yard move” function. This enables them to move freely and remain “on duty”.

Log book modifications

The driver needs to approve all log book modifications that impact the HOS status. The number of pending approvals is displayed on the daily log page. For example, if a log book shows an “off-duty” status and a modification to the log book activity changes the status to “on duty”, the driver will be advised and will need to accept or reject the modification. Every change is documented. The inspector sees every change made to the logbook.

Unassigned driving

The system records all unassigned vehicle driving. Every driver to log on in the truck will be asked to accept or decline unassigned driving in the previous 8 days. Carriers must assign unassigned driving to drivers or be able to explain it during an audit. It should be noted that unassigned driving records must be kept for at least six months as part of the ELD hours of service records that must be made available to safety officials.

Storing on-board documents

  • A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD.

  • An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official. The document shall state the device on board is an ELD.

  • An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions.

  • Daily logs for the current day and the previous seven days.

  • A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.

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