If you have been a part of the trucking industry for a long time, you must be familiar with the term ELD. But for newcomers, the ELD can be confusing and perplexing. After all, if you do not understand the device, how do you know which one to choose? Moreover, installing an ELD is now mandatory by law; failure in doing so can lead to heavy fines and penalties. The authorities may suspend your license as well! So, having an ELD is a must. But before you buy one, you must understand what an ELD is, and most importantly, what the HOS ELD Mandate is all about.
What is an ELD and How Does it Work?
ELD is short for Electronic Logging Device. It is a type of hardware used by commercial drivers to track their Hours of Service (HoS) when at work. It records data electronically, replacing traditional paper logs and the electronic onboard recorders used previously. Drivers cannot forget or misplace their paperwork anymore- the data collection process is automated- information is taken directly from the vehicle’s engine.
The device records data at a set interval. It includes the time, date, location, vehicle miles, and engine hours. The identification details of the driver- driver and vehicle information, motor carrier, and user authentication- are also recorded.
The ELD starts recording information once the vehicle is at a speed of 5 miles per hour (mph) or more. For speeds under five mph, it uses the in-motion mode. If the vehicle speed drops to 0 mph for 3 seconds more at a go, the ELD stops.
An ELD also has countless other benefits which enhance your driving. Many ELDs have different features and customizations, allowing you to choose the device that suits your needs the most.
Do you need an ELD?
Are you a commercial driver working for more than 8 days a month? If yes, then you must install an ELD in your vehicle. All drivers whose logs record duty service for longer than 8 days a month have to comply with the mandate and install this device. To know more about the mandate, keep reading- we have discussed the mandate below. This is not restricted to drivers who are citizens of the United States only. If you are a driver from Canada or Mexico, you require an ELD too.
If you choose not to comply with this rule and not install an ELD, you will find yourself paying many heavy fines and penalties. That’s not all; many drivers who are found operating without an ELD are placed out of service too. Non-compliant operators have been shut down and put out of work as well. This will lead to unemployment and a sudden lack of income. Not using an ELD poses other threats to people around you as well. Hence, we implore you to install an ELD if you do not have one already, as it is a safe bet for you and others too!
What is the ELD mandate?
Installing an ELD was made mandatory for all commercial drivers after April 1, 2018. The Federal Motor Carrier Safer Administration (FMCSA) oversees it directly. This law was designed to create a safer environment for truckers and other drivers on the road while pushing the former to peak productivity. Using an ELD has made it easy to capture data, determine accurate information, and smoothly manage and relay information.
The ELD mandate was introduced to replace traditional, less accurate methods of information tracking, like paper logging and automatic onboard recording devices like AOBRDs. ELD tracking also stops drivers from troubling their drivers and violating HoS laws.
ELD Requirements and Specifications
The ELD you install must adhere to the specifications outlined by the FMCSA. These specifications have been designed keeping in mind the safety and productivity of fleets. Some of the requirements that must be complied with are as follows.
- Vehicle location should be recorded automatically, without manual interference.
- The device should automatically connect to the engine upon inception.
- The device must have a feature for drivers to log in and enter their activity- whether on duty, off duty, or resting.
- It should present the recorded data in a standardized format.
- The device should connect with a USB or Bluetooth to transfer data to government officials.
- The device should have a mute button for drivers to remain undisturbed when resting.
The FMCSA has a list of specifications on the website. Refer to the list before choosing an ELD.
Initially, the fleets and drivers were given time to adapt to the changes, install an ELD, and learn how to use it. They had time till December 1, 2019, to do so. Currently, all commercial drivers must comply with this law or face penalties and punishments for not doing so. Often roadside inspections take place at red lights and other stops. The officers may ask for some documents on the spot, which you must have, at all times. They are listed below.
- A compliant and registered Electronic Logging Device
- The ELD user manual
- Paper log sheets as a backup
- Instruction sheets demonstrating how to report an ELD malfunction
- Backup data of the past six months
You must also keep other supporting documents with you. The inspector might ask for extra verification.
What happens if you do not have an ELD?
If you operate without an ELD or with a non-compliant ELD, you will face penalties or charges depending on the situation. The United States Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Personnel are responsible for identifying violations and penalties. Some of them are:
- Violations are registered against the driver’s Safety Measurement System scores.
- The driver will receive a citation from the inspector
- The driver can be placed out-of-service for 8 to 10 hours.
- The driver will be expected to complete their ongoing trip with paper logs and install an ELD as soon as possible.
The ELD also brings countless benefits with it. Its advantages include safer driving habits, lesser paperwork, simplified IFTA tax filing, and boosted productivity. You also get insight into your engine’s health and resolve problems as soon as they arise. With an ELD, you can do complex jobs with the click of a button. Some insurance companies see using an ELD as a measure of responsible and safe driving. They allow these drivers to pay lower insurance premiums. Hence, an ELD is a must-have for every commercial driver as it makes your job so much easier and more organized.