It’s a safety initiative, no doubt. It’s also about eliminating $1.6 billion in paperwork costs.
What Is It?
The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is a congressionally mandated rule intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.
An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.
Though the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is charged with enforcing the rule, the rule is administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
About the ELD Devices
Trucking operators have several options to comply with the ELD mandate. They can acquire single-purpose, fixed devices with pre-installed software. More than 100 ELD providers have self-certified their products on the FMCSA website. If the devices meet the technical specifications issued by FMCSA, the providers are placed on the self-certified list.
Trucking companies can also use smartphones or tablets and install ELD tracking software. According to the FMCSA FAQs, ELDs can be on a smartphone or other wireless device, as long as the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications. Additionally, a driver can use a portable ELD.
This mobile ELD option is certainly practical with owner-operators and small fleets because of its low cost and ease of installation and operation. According to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, 90% of the trucking industry is made up of small business trucking companies with ten or fewer trucks.
Why It’s Important Now
Though the ELD mandate was first published December 16, 2015, the deadline for compliance is December 18, 2017.
As such, independent truckers and fleets have had nearly two years to prepare for ELDs since the final rule was published.
The ELD mandate did not change federal hours-of-service regulations that limit how much time a trucker can drive. By law, drivers are limited to 11 hours of daily driving.
The ELD devices link to a semi truck’s engine, capturing the movement and recording how much time a trucker spends behind the wheel.
Penalties for Truckers
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), there are approximately 3.5 million truckers on the road today.
Truckers won’t immediately be put out of service or told to stop driving if they don’t comply with the ELD mandate by the December deadline, according to the CVSA. Instead, the safety alliance is allowing a grace period up to April 1 before it begins to apply the out-of-service criteria related to the pending regulation.
However, if stopped for a roadside inspection on or after Dec. 18, truckers without an ELD device will have violation points added to the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability, or CSA, scoring program.
Non-compliant drivers also may face fines on or after the Dec. 18 deadline issued by the state enforcement agencies that handle roadside inspections. The fine amounts may vary state to state. Missouri set its fine for ELD non-compliance at $172, Delaware’s fine amount is $110, and Colorado’s is $67, according to state agency officials.
The ATA, which counts many large fleets as its members, supports the mandate.
Saving Lives — and Paperwork Costs
The ELD mandate could improve safety on roads. Though the estimated cost is approximately $2 billion, the FMCSA estimates that ELDs will prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries, and save 26 lives annually by keeping tired truckers off the road.
Switching to electronic logs is also expected to eliminate more than $1.6 billion in paperwork costs for motor carriers and law enforcement agencies reviewing drivers’ logs, according to the FMCSA.
How Miradore Can Help
Miradore’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution can help trucking companies and operators in 3 key areas:
1. Securing the device. As the ELD is capturing critical driver and vehicle information, security is important. Miradore can help you secure your devices by enforcing passcodes, encrypting, and if necessary, wiping and locking.
2. Installing and updating apps. Remote access is also an important feature to consider, especially as the devices are deployed all over the U.S. Miradore can help companies install and update the applications that are supporting the ELD mandate remotely, so that they do not have to touch the devices physically.
If the newest version of an app needs to be updated, companies should be able to do that from the mobile device management software, since it would be a logistical nightmare for them to physically acquire the devices, or to ask that users update any apps themselves.
3. Device restrictions. Device restriction is also important, to ensure that devices are not being abused by drivers. For example, trucking companies may not want end users accessing the web from the device or using up data for unapproved purposes. Hence, adding restrictions to the device is a feature Miradore can help with.
You can also restrict the devices to choose only the ELD mandate apps to be running on the device. BigRoad and KeepTruckin are smartphone apps for logging that are now capable of functioning as ELDs.