The three-month law enforcement grace period for trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices is over.
As of April 1, drivers caught without ELDs are due to be placed out of service for 10 hours, and may have points added to their Compliance, Safety, Accountability program scores, or could even be assessed a civil fine.
Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said that after the 10-hour out-of-service order is completed, drivers can use paper records of duty to get to their final destination.
“But they can’t be re-dispatched until they have an ELD installed,” Mooney said.
“Some inspectors or officers may just place the driver out of service for 10 hours,” Mooney said. “Others may place the driver out of service and issue a citation as well. It’s really up to the officer within each jurisdiction.”
Mooney added, “But we’re recommending that a roadside report is generated for points to be assigned. If no roadside report is generated then the violation wouldn’t appear on someone’s CSA score.”
With few exceptions, the rule mandates any driver required to previously keep a paper record of duty status must install an ELD.
Despite a variety of complaints by drivers about the new mandate, federal regulators are quick to point out that the ELD rule really doesn’t change the hours-of-service requirements that have been in place since 2005. However, the technology will help ensure that drivers comply with the 11-hour daily driving time and 14-hour on-duty time maximums.
Joseph DeLorenzo, director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s office of compliance and enforcement, said during an ELD listening session at the Mid-America Trucking Show that some drivers preferred paper logs because they could “make the paperwork the way [they] want. But you can’t make it the way you want with an ELD.”
Indeed, cheating on paper logs has been widespread, according to FMCSA records.
For example, in 2017, roadside inspectors issued nearly 43,000 violations for false reports of driver record of duty status, 32,000 violations for no driver record of duty status, and nearly 54,000 violations for paper logs not being current.
Ken Evans, CEO of ELD provider Konexial, said the devices are nearly impossible to defeat because they are synchronized with the engine’s computer and record drive time when the truck’s speed exceeds 5 mph.
Evans said that when he was exhibiting the product at truck shows last year, drivers commonly said, “I don’t want to talk to you unless you can help me cheat.”
There are a number of specific requirements and suggested practices associated with the ELDs. Some of them include:
• Drivers and carriers must choose an ELD from a registration list of self-certified ELDs that are reviewed by FMCSA.
• The ELD must be capable of transferring data to inspectors during roadside inspections. Drivers may use one of two options, either by telematics such as e-mail or web services, or locally via the use of Universal Serial Bus or Bluetooth.
• When an ELD malfunctions, the driver must provide written notice to the carrier within 24 hours and maintain paper logs over the course of eight days, the maximum time FMCSA allows for a device to be repaired or replaced.
• Drivers or carriers can make edits to their ELD record, but drive time cannot be shortened. The driver, who has the last say on the edits, must re-certify the data after edits are made.
• Drivers should remember to log off the ELD at the end of the day. Officials say one of the biggest problems is drivers not logging out because it can create complications, for example, when a mechanic moves the truck to perform maintenance.
“I like to remind people that this transition on the industry side is difficult,” DeLorenzo said at the agency forum. “It’s a big change for people that are not technology users. But the things that you struggle with on the transition to technology, we also struggle with on the enforcement side.”