Joe DeLorenzo, the director of the FMCSA’s office of compliance and enforcement, recently gave a talk that provided updates on the ELD mandate’s data transfer system. He clarified the common ELD mandate concerns that truck drivers have over some of the ELD mandate’s guidelines. It all happened during a recent trucking conference and expo held in Nashville, Tennessee.
The update on the data transfer system talks about how drivers are expected to provide their records of duty status (RODS) data from their ELDs to law enforcers and safety officials. It also clarifies how drivers are meant to address situations where the usual methods of data transfer won’t work (or are unavailable) because of the absence of wireless connections.
DeLorenzo also mentioned some guidelines and reminders about the ELD mandate. These include yard moves, ELD exemptions, and AOBRD regulations.
Data transfer system
With the fast approaching deadline of the ELD mandate, the members of the trucking industry have recently been asking questions about the everyday operations of ELDs. One of their concerns focuses on how the RODS data recorded by ELDs ought to be transferred to safety officers during roadside inspections.
Joe DeLorenzo addressed their concerns by clarifying the mandate’s guidelines in a recent trucking expo.
He said that there are two available options that can be employed during this electronic transfer of data, namely: Web Services and USB/Bluetooth.
1. Web service option
According to the director, this option is believed by the agency to be the most common means of data transfer that truck drivers will use.
RODS data will be sent through email to an FMCSA-hosted web service that can only be accessed by law enforcers using a unique key code. Safety officials who wish to retrieve the data have to log into the web service and use the unique key code to have access to the driver’s electronic RODS.
Alternatively, drivers can also opt to email their electronic RODS directly to the law enforcer.
Two other transfer methods that drivers can use are the USB (Universal Serial Bus) method and the Bluetooth method.
As for the former, drivers are given a USB-compatible device by the law enforcer to be connected to the ELD (i.e., flash drive, mobile phone USB connection, etc.).
The driver then plugs this device into his ELD and transfers his electronic RODS from the ELD to the safety officer’s device.
Alternatively, the driver can connect his ELD wirelessly to the law enforcer’s device via Bluetooth or other wireless mediums.
The director also emphasizes the importance of ELDs being able to graphically display the electronic RODS data from a reasonable distance. During instances where the transfer methods are not functioning, officers can instead read the data using a paper printout or a view-screen from the electronic logging device.
DeLorenzo believes that this graphical display is important over the course of the ELD implementation, as the electronic RODS transfer system is still currently being tested by the FMCSA and might not even be implemented before December of this year.
Other guidelines and reminders to clarify ELD mandate concerns
Joe also covered a few other important guidelines and reminders about the ELD mandate that are often talked about in the trucking industry.
Some of the topics he included are the guidelines on yard moves, exemptions to the ELD mandate, and regulations on AOBRDs.
These are the clarifications that he made:
One of the burning questions that members of the trucking industry often ask is how yard moves are to be accounted for using the new ELD mandate system.
These yard moves happen when trucks are being transferred between maintenance facilities, moved to a different terminal parking spot, or taken to a different dock. Yard moves can sometimes be problematic because several people usually operate the vehicle during these moves, aside from the driver who is assigned to haul the freight.
DeLorenzo responds by saying that even if none of these yard moves are counted against a driver’s HOS (hours of service), it is important to note that the mileage that was tracked by the ECM should be accounted for.
He emphasizes the importance of properly accounting the accumulated miles even during times when the truck is not actively transporting freight.
ELD mandate exemptions
Another area that Joe DeLorenzo focused on during his speech included clarifications regarding the exemptions to the ELD mandate.
These are the exemptions.
- A CDL (Commercial driver’s license) driver whose area of operations remains within a 100 air-mile radius from his home base.
- A non-CDL freight driver whose area of operations remain within a 150 air-mile radius from his home base.
- Short-haul drivers who exceed the short-haul limitation for no more than 8 days in a 30-day period.
- A vehicle with pre-2000 engines.
- “Driveaway, towaway” operations.
With regards to the ELD mandate exemption, Joe DeLorenzo highlights three important clarifications concerning the eight-day paper RODS exemption.
- The 30-day period should be viewed as a “continuous clock” rather than a fixed one-month period.
- Multiple drivers in a fleet can avail the exemption even if other drivers in the same fleet have to use ELDs
- The eight days do not have to be continuous — the exemption allows for any eight days within a 30 day period to be logged using paper RODS.
The AOBRD option
Joe DeLorenzo also reminded the trucking industry about the important guidelines on using the AOBRD option to comply with the ELD mandate.
The ELD mandate gives drivers who are using AOBRDs the option to continue its use for two more years, therefore extending the ELD mandate implementation date by two more years — to December 16, 2019.
A good reason why AOBRDs are to be phased out is they are generally not designed to be connected to the ECM (engine control module) of the truck. ECMs are used by ELDs to track the mileage of vehicles and match these details to the driver’s HOS log.
DeLorenzo, however, emphasized that for drivers to avail the AOBRD exemption, these devices have to be “in use” when the ELD mandate goes into effect. Trucks that are not equipped with AOBRDs after the December 18, 2017, deadline are required to use ELDs instead.
Also, AOBRDs that are installed in vehicles must remain in use and cannot be transferred to other trucks after the implementation deadline of the ELD mandate has passed. In other words, you will have to buy ELDs — not AOBRDs — for any new vehicle after the December 18, 2017, ELD mandate deadline.
AOBRDs or ELDs?
With the AOBRD-extension option made available by the ELD mandate, truckers now have two options.
They could either continue using AOBRDs for two more years or they could transition directly into using ELDs. Each option has its own benefits.
If truckers choose AOBRDs, they can benefit from the lesser regulatory restrictions that are associated with the ELD mandate.
On the other hand, if they use ELDs, they can benefit from the various features that come with electronic logging devices.
Many fleets like the flexibility of AOBRDs, but the problem is that buying AOBRDs now and then replacing them with ELDs within 24 months is an added expense. Fleets, however, can buy Motive ELDs and use them as AOBRDs until December 16, 2019. The Motive Dashboard for Fleets offer customizable options that you can activate with a simple click, which will make your ELD basically an AOBRD.
After December 16, 2019, you can just turn those settings off and continue using a fully compliant and certified Motive ELD solution.
Whether a company opts for ELDs or AOBRDs, it is important to start the compliance process as soon as possible. The ELD mandate deadline is less than four months away now, and fleets that haven’t installed ELDs yet are already late.
Transitioning to these devices as early as today would give fleets enough time to learn how to use and operate the devices and integrate them into their daily routines.
If you are looking for a reliable ELD solution, try Motive.
The Motive ELD is FMCSA-registered, feature-rich, and lets you choose which mode to operate in — ELD or AOBRD — until Dec 16, 2019.
For more information, call 844-257-6396 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.