ELD Mandate Compliance – Start Now. Don’t Wait Any Longer.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the request by the Owner Operators and Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) to review the ELD mandate, absent some action by the Trump Administration which experts say is unlikely, ELDs will become mandatory in December.

If you waited to see what would happen with that court case before pulling the trigger on ELDs, you’re likely not alone. Last year, Transplace, a transportation management services and logistics technology company, conducted a survey of 400 carriers of various profiles. That survey found, among other things, while 81 percent of large fleets with 250 trucks or more reported full ELD implementation, only 33 percent of small fleets with fewer than 250 trucks had accomplished full ELD integration.

Our ELD partners tell us that since the end of last year ELD adoption has grown at a blistering pace. So, those numbers have likely changed. Still, ELD providers know there are a number of truck operators and fleets that have yet to make the move.

If you’re one of those, what should you do? We’ll provide you some thoughts from experts we’ve seen published in recent trade magazine reports and some recommendations from our ELD partners and from a fleet director of safety and compliance about what to do next and how you can increase the likelihood you and your operation will be fully compliant by the December deadline.

First, we’re not going to sugarcoat this. From everything we’ve heard and read, you cannot and should not wait any longer. You must start now and you should build into your schedule time for determining the right solution, training and implementation.  The ELD mandate is already law and is backed by a Republican-led Congress. You should also know that earlier this year the FMCSA issued new guidance on the ELD mandate’s grandfather clause.

The grandfather clause, which provides carriers another two years (until Dec. 16, 2019) to comply with the mandate, only applies to those carriers using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD) when the ELD mandate was published in December of 2015. Those carriers can transfer these older devices to new trucks and still remain compliant with the ELD mandate for the next two years. But that’s ONLY if the new truck has replaced an old truck that was previously operating. In other words, any devices installed in vehicles that don’t replace other trucks in the carriers’ operation will not be considered in compliance. Also, you cannot purchase new AOBRDs and install them on trucks after Dec. 18, 2017.

Among other differences, AOBRDs differ from ELDs in two key ways – they don’t automatically record location nor do they interface with the trucks’ engine control modules. However, do remember to check with your AOBRD provider before replacing it. With some AOBRDs, the provider may be able to do a simple firmware update to convert it to an ELD.

Tip No. 1: Drivewyze capability

If you’re looking to adopt ELDs that include Drivewyze weigh station bypass service, there are several ELD providers that are partners with Drivewyze.

 For more information about weigh station bypass availability from our ELD provider partners, visit these companies’ websites or ask the companies’ sales or support teams to determine which of their devices offer Drivewyze capability:

 Omnitracs Weigh Station Bypass provided by Drivewyze PreClear

PeopleNet

Tip No. 2: Bring Your Own Device or BYOD solution

If you’re looking for a bring-your-own-device, or “BYOD” solution, keep in mind that Omnitracs offers the Omnitracs XRS Platform, which provides enterprise-grade fleet solutions for a smartphone, tablet or rugged handheld device. Also, Pegasus TransTech expects to have Drivewyze weigh station bypass features available on the Transflo Connect Mobile platform in August. Check out the company’s web site for details. And PeopleNet has published a white paper with guidance for fleets to consider, to determine if a BYOD approach is the right move for them.

Tip No. 3: Get your HOS in order

Before you look for an ELD solution, get your paper logs to 100 percent compliance. If you’re having challenges in keeping accurate paper logs, fleets and ELD providers say those issues will very likely become worse.


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Tip No. 4: Be positive

Prepare yourself and your drivers and support personnel for ELD adoption by reviewing all of the benefits ELDs can offer. Change is often difficult and uncomfortable. Still, a positive attitude will go a long way in making the transition easier. Consider the upsides. Many ELDs offer IFTA fuel reporting and electronic driver vehicle inspection reports. Electronic inspection reports can provide validation against your HOS logs that you or your drivers are completing inspections. There are also dispatching, messaging, and workflow apps available. Before implementing your chosen ELD system, determine which added features make sense for your operation.

Tip No. 5: Do your homework

Before choosing which ELD system to adopt, look closely at its documentation. If you’re concerned about data privacy, bone up on the ELD providers’ policies and procedures and ask questions if you don’t understand. Also check on how the provider stays informed and updates its devices in the event of regulatory changes. If your fleet runs atypical hours – check to see if the provider you choose understands your operations. BarOle Trucking’s director of safety and compliance Karol Smith suggests paying close attention to the customer service levels the provider offers. Does the provider have after-hours live support?  Take a good look at how your chosen ELD will integrate with your trucks’ engine control modules and interact with back-office programs.

Tip No. 6: Invest in training

BarOle’s Smith says paying and taking the time for training are worth the investment. If you are part of a fleet operation, start by making sure you have enough people who are fully trained on the new system. If your company is a one-person or very small operation, familiarize yourself with your chosen ELD. And determine what things you don’t understand and then seek out answers. Your chosen ELD provider may have some training videos or other resources that can help you and your drivers and other staff members become familiar with the ELD system. For example, PeopleNet  and Omnitracs offer sites to become familiar with the ELD/HOS mandate and its ELD/HOS mandate solutions. Also, companies like CarriersEdge offer access to several HOS and logbook training courses for a monthly subscription. Smith says it’s important to recognize that ELD adoption will take time to plan and execute.

Tip No. 7: Be aware that drivers have responsibilities and rights

Under the ELD mandate regulations, drivers will be responsible for the accuracy of their HOS logs. But with that responsibility comes certain rights. For example, any changes made to their HOS logs must be approved by the drivers. And drivers are not obligated to approve changes they deem to be in error or are for driving time they didn’t accrue. Drivers can also make use of a special driving category that allows them to record off-duty time when they need to drive their trucks for authorized personal use.

Tip No. 8: Establish mutual understanding with drivers of any vague rules

Consider the ELD mandate rules created two separate special driving categories called “authorized personal use” and “yard moves.” Also, consider that fleets and their drivers should come to a mutual understanding of exactly what constitutes a “yard move.” FMCSA chose not to define or provide any guidance on the term “yard” in the “yard move” driving category. So, during training it’s important for fleets to define “yard” and when drivers may select and use the “yard move” category. PeopleNet recently provided some information on its blog about this issue.

This is critical because when trucks are moved to a maintenance shop for servicing, or moved or pre-positioned for loading or unloading, the next time the drivers log in, they will be asked to accept or reject that driving time into their HOS logs. If the drivers reject that time, the fleet then becomes responsible for documenting the details.

If you have recently implemented ELDs, and have some recommendations based on your own experience, we would be interested in sharing them on this blog. Please send your suggestions to marketing@drivewyze.com

 

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