Update 4/22/2021: Meera Joshi, Acting Administrator of the FMCSA, has responded to the NTSB report from December 2020. The FMCSA’s response below dismisses the baseless NTSB recommendation that the Motive ELD should be removed from the list of approved providers. It also requests that the NTSB close the recommendation.

Response from Meera Joshi, Acting Administrator of the FMCSA

On December 17, 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report on a tragic collision in New Hampshire in June 2019. In that report, the NTSB recommends that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) remove Motive from the list of approved ELD vendors. This recommendation is based on a flawed investigation and a fundamental lack of understanding of the regulation governing ELDs.

There are 3 clear reasons why the NTSB’s findings are wrong

  1. The driver involved in the crash wasn’t using the Motive ELD.We have no record of a Motive account associated with the driver. The NTSB acknowledged in their report that the driver was using paper logs.

    Westfield Transport, the carrier that employed the driver, was utilizing the Motive AOBRD compliance product — not our ELD compliance product. Despite that incontrovertible fact, the NTSB arrived at conclusions regarding the fitness of our ELD product, even though it wasn’t used by the carrier involved in this collision.

    2. The NTSB report demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the FMCSA regulations governing ELDs.The NTSB report suggests that the Motive ELD didn’t record a “malfunction code for the location discrepancy” when Westfield Transport drivers disconnected their smartphones from the ELD in an attempt to falsify their logs.

    The FMCSA doesn’t require that an ELD record a malfunction event when no mobile device is connected, or when a driver isn’t logged into an ELD. Instead, the FMCSA requires that in this situation, the ELD records driving time under the “Unidentified Driver Profile” along with the GPS locations, odometer readings, and elapsed engine hours for each unidentified trip. All of this data must be included in the ELD output file that officers receive during an inspection.

Motive does exactly what the FMCSA regulation requires. Every month, more than 10,000 ELD output files are transmitted from Motive to officers during roadside inspections and audits. Fifty percent of those output files include unidentified trips. This clearly indicates to inspecting officers that a vehicle was used without driving time applied to a driver’s log.

The NTSB could have easily verified this. However, the lead NTSB investigator made no meaningful attempt to engage Motive to understand how our ELD product functions or to legally request the data related to the Westfield Transport account.

  1. The NTSB is opposed to the mobile device-based ELD architecture specifically permitted by the FMCSA.The NTSB’s primary objection to the Motive ELD system is the ability for drivers to disconnect their mobile device from the ELD. It claims to prevent the ELD from accurately recording a driver’s Hours of Service and makes it easy to tamper with. This assertion is incorrect — FMCSA rules specifically allow for ELDs to be implemented with “a handheld unit that may be moved from vehicle to vehicle.

This specific mobile device-based ELD architecture is present in many of the ELD products on the FMCSA’s approved vendor list, including Geotab, Samsara, BigRoad, Omnitracs, Verizon Connect and many others.

If the NTSB recommendation was followed, it would jeopardize the compliance of more than 1 million drivers who rely on mobile device-based ELD systems to satisfy the most foundational requirements of their jobs.

Motive’s commitment to customer privacy

Motive takes our obligations to protect customer privacy and data seriously. Motive also complies with lawful demands for information during an investigation.

Motive fully cooperated with the NTSB investigation. We responded immediately to the NTSB lead investigator’s initial request for documents, and asked him to present a subpoena as is our standard process for all investigations. We didn’t receive follow-up communication from the NTSB investigator. We reached out to the NTSB investigator by phone and email to ensure the agency had what it needed but we received no response. We didn’t hear from the NTSB at any other time while the investigation was ongoing. We didn’t even hear from the NTSB prior to their December 1, 2020 public meeting where these baseless statements were made. Motive remains committed to cooperating with federal investigators whenever they make lawful demands for information.

Motive is compliant

The NTSB conducted a flawed investigation and came to poorly informed conclusions regarding the Motive ELD system. They relied solely on the statements of a criminally indicted carrier and its drivers who falsified their logs and lied to investigators, and made no attempt to understand how the Motive ELD system functions. 

The NTSB has no authority to determine which devices are on the FMCSA’s list of approved providers, and which aren’t.

We’ve worked closely with the FMCSA for the last seven years to ensure that the Motive ELD system is compliant with all federal regulations. The 80,000 companies and 400,000 drivers that rely on the Motive ELD can continue to do so with confidence and without interruption in service. Motive will continue to remain on the list of approved ELD vendors.