Although the ELD mandate is less than four months away, some drivers and fleet managers are still a little confused about certain rules and provisions.
The FMCSA is doing its best to clarify any ELD mandate concerns.
In a recent address, Joe DeLorenzo, the FMCSA director, clarified ELD mandate concerns regarding ELD rule exemptions, ELD data transfer, yard moves, and using AOBRD as per the ELD mandate. That presentation was helpful for many drivers who were having confusion regarding these aspects of the ELD mandate.
Now, at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) 2017, LaTonya Mimms, who is a specialist in the FMCSA’s enforcement division, and Danielle Smith, who is a specialist in the FMCSA’s passenger carrier division, addressed a few more ELD mandate concerns.
To be precise, they clarified concerns regarding dual accounts for owner-operators, edits, supporting documents, and unidentified trips.
Let’s see what they had to say.
Dual accounts for owner-operators
According to the FMCSA representatives, independent owner-operators will require two different accounts to be compliant with the ELD mandate that takes effect from December 18, 2017.
There are a few things to understand about it.
Under normal circumstances, two different accounts are required: driver accounts and carrier accounts.
Driver accounts are created with a unique user name, the commercial driver license (CDL) number, and the driver’s name. As you could guess, drivers’ accounts are used for recording drivers’ hours.
On the other hand, carrier accounts (which are also referred to as ‘support accounts’) are used to perform administrative tasks, such as downloading ELD data, performing yard moves, and verification of logs, etc.
The important point to note here is that ELD accounts are not allowed to be used by multiple people. In other words, a driver account cannot be used by a driver as well as a carrier, and vice versa.
However, the case of independent owner-operators warrants different treatment.
Because owner-operators perform dual duties (as a driver and as an administrator), they would also require dual accounts. Therefore, independent owner-operators would require a driver account as well as a support account because of their dual roles as drivers and business administrators.
Danielle Smith said, “One account is not going to let you do both operations.”
The FMCSA representatives also reminded that drivers and carriers need to carry and/or retain necessary supporting documents to be 100% compliant with the ELD mandate.
Once the ELD mandate goes into effect, drivers would be required to keep a user manual for their electronic logging device. They would also be required to carry ELD malfunctions instructions from their ELD vendor. In addition to these two manuals, drivers would also need to carry a supply of blank paper logs and paper supporting documents — which would come in handy in case of ELD malfunctions.
The supporting documents would include bills of lading, dispatch records, receipts for foods and meals, and any other document that might assist in verifying Hours of Service compliance. Drivers are supposed to file all their logs and supporting documents with their carriers within thirteen days. Carriers would have to retain up to 8 support documents for every 24 hours a driver is on duty.
Furthermore, just as the law dictates with paper logs, all supporting documents and log records will have to be retained for 6 months.
Editing of the logs was another topic that the FMCSA representatives discussed.
According to LaTonya Mimms, carriers and drivers are allowed to make limited edits to the electronic logs. However, drivers “ultimately have the right to accept or decline edits” that the carriers make.
Moreover, it was also highlighted that edits — whether they were made by drivers or carriers — need to be annotated on the device to document the reason for the edit. Danielle Smith also reminded that in the case of edited logs, both versions of the logs would have to be retained — the original logs as well as the edited logs.
Additionally, LaTonya Mimms reminds, “Edits are very limited. There are only certain things you can edit.”
In a scenario in which a truck is moving, but no one is logged into the electronic logging device, it would result in an ‘unidentified trip’.
That drive time will be recorded by electronic logging devices, which would have to be assigned to an ELD account in order to stay compliant.
Carriers will have to assign the unassigned driving time to a driver, but drivers can accept or reject the assigned time. This practice works in favor of commercial drivers and protects them against driver harassment and driver coercion.
Danielle Smith reminded that if drivers accept the assigned time, “that driving time can contribute to Hours of Service violations” if they were driving more than they were supposed to drive.
Lastly, it is also important to remember that after the ELD mandate deadline, drivers would be able to use personal conveyance for recording personal drive time.
LaTonya Mimms reminded that personal conveyance isn’t counted against driving time, but it will be reflected in the electronic logging device.
She says, “It will show up as a shaded, dotted, or dashed area, and it will be embedded in a driver’s off-duty time.”
Who needs ELDs?
The ELD mandate implementation deadline is December 18, 2017. After that, most drivers would require FMCSA-registered electronic logging devices to stay compliant with the final ELD rule.
Note: It is important to remember that the electronic logging devices you use must be FMCSA-registered. The FMCSA recently reminded safety inspectors that unregistered ELDs should not be considered ELDs at all.
To keep it simple, if someone is required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS), he will need electronic logging devices. There are, however, four major exemptions.
If you belong to any of the following four categories, you do not need electronic logging devices:
- Towaway drivers
- Short-haul drivers
- Short-haul drivers who exceed the short-haul limitation and maintain RODS for no more than 8 days in a 30-day period.
- Vehicles with pre-2000 engines.
LaTonya Mimms recommended commercial drivers and fleet owners to start the ELD implementation process as soon as possible, so they can “get comfortable with the device.”
Delaying the ELD implementation process has no benefits whatsoever, but it does have multiple disadvantages.
For instance, you won’t have enough time to carefully screen the perfect ELD vendor that fits your requirements. You might also not have sufficient time to arrange ELD training sessions for drivers and fleet managers. Moreover, fleets that implement ELDs at the last moment might have to deal with a possible price hike and an ELD supply shortage.
Start your ELD implementation process right now if you don’t want to deal with headaches later.
The Motive ELD solution is FMCSA-registered, affordable, and easy to use.