How the Electronic Logging Mandate Impacts Carriers
Today’s regulatory environment is much more than alphabet soup. HOS, CSA, SFD, RODS, IFTA, DVIR, AOBRD, and the SNPRM for ELDs—and many more—are the realities of living in an age when each day brings us a new regulation.
On June 26, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) closed the comment period for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). With over 2,220 comments received, the administration will go to work crafting a final rule mandating the use of ELDs for all drivers required to file a Record of Duty Status (RODS). If you are not already using an AOBRD (automatic on board recording device), you will need to comply with the new rule by January 31, 2017.
Who It Impacts
The proposed rule will impact all trucks that are required to file RODS—according to the FMCSA there are about 3 million drivers on the road today. If you currently use a paper or electronic log, you will be required to use an ELD that meets the FMCSA’s new standards. If you are using exceptions, including short haul, you will not need an ELD unless you break the short haul radius eight times in a 30 day period.
If this mandate stays on track with the current process, a final rule will be issued in January 2015. Fleets, including owner-operators, will then have two years to comply with the rule, which includes having a device installed and working by January 2017.
The FMCSA added a grandfathering clause to the rule. If you use a 395.15 compliant AOBRD, you will be able to continue using that device for two more years. This allows companies that are already using devices to leverage those investments over time and get a positive return on investment. After 2019, every truck will need a device that meets the technical and performance standards outlined by the rule.
Technical Standards and Certification
The FMCSA established several technical and performance standards for ELDs in the new rule:
- Synchronization to the vehicle’s engine control module—applicable for all trucks built after 2000
- Transmittal of vehicle location and status at set intervals
- Graphical display of the driver log’s grid graph
- Transfer mechanisms between the ELD and enforcement personnel, including wireless web services, Bluetooth, TransferJet, compliant printouts, or USB
- Security features, including tamper proofing devices and device malfunction warnings
ELD vendors will need to build solutions that meet these standards and certify devices with the FMCSA. Carriers will need to use a device that has made it through the certification process and is on file with the FMCSA.
The Changing ELD Vendor Landscape
The ELD marketplace has changed dramatically since the introduction of on board computers. Prices have dropped radically, and there are options with no upfront hardware costs when you use your smartphone or tablet. Functionality has improved, and there are many ways a fleet can generate a return on their investment. As you consider an ELD, it’s also a great time to examine how technology can impact your operations.