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May 14, 2016 4:00 PM, EDT
ELD Vendors to Self-Certify Devices as Compliant ELDs

This story appears in the May 9 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Certification of electronic logging devices has been left to the device manufacturers under the federal ELD rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is maintaining a list of registered ELDs, but the agency is not vetting the devices. Instead, device makers are self-certifying their products as compliant with the technical standards in the rule.

As of mid-April, only three vendors had registered their devices, but none of the industry’s largest suppliers had yet done so.

Several vendors said they were studying the published ELD rule and planned to update their software and then test their products and certify them as compliant. Some said they expected to carry out those steps in the coming weeks or months.

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However, some vendors also expressed concern about the self-certification method.

“The certification process, we think, is going to be a major issue for the industry,” said Alexis Capelle, ELD program manager at Continental Corp.

Elise Chianelli, director of safety and compliance for PeopleNet, said she and representatives of other vendors had attended an FMCSA meeting to ask questions about aspects of the rule.

Regarding the self-certification of ELDs, Chianelli said, “The only way that a solution would ever get challenged or audited by FMCSA is if enforcement escalated a complaint.”

Fred Fakkema, vice president of compliance at Zonar Systems, said that although FMCSA has published a testing guideline, the rule gives vendors an option to use their own test to declare they are self-certified.

“The only thing you have to answer to is an audit by [FMCSA] if there’s a complaint,” Fakkema said. “So there are no teeth to it. There are no stringent requirements.”

One of the first three vendors to register an ELD is Gorilla Safety.

The company said its ELD is part of a broader fleet-management application that runs on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Gorilla Safety officially announced the product April 11.