When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began mandating the use of the electronic logging device (ELD) in December 2017, it did so with the understanding that it could occasionally malfunction. Under FMCSA guidelines, a commercial truck driver must follow specific instructions if the device that monitors date, time, hours of service, and other important data starts to malfunction. Those that do not follow these guidelines risk fines or other sanctions by the FMCSA for being out of compliance. So, we’ll go over what to do if you have an ELD malfunction.
Steps every driver must follow when an ELD malfunctions.
The first step the driver must take when an obvious ELD malfunction occurs is put a description of the problem in writing and forward it to the motor carrier no more than 24 hours later. Additional steps include:
- The driver must reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for both the current period of 24 hours and the seven consecutive days prior to it. He or she must record the RODS on the appropriate graphing paper or use electronic recording software. If exercising the second option, the software must be compliant with 49 CFR 395.8 of FMCSA regulations. The FMCSA will make an exception to this requirement if the driver retrieved records from the ELD before it malfunctioned or already has a physical copy of the records.
- The FMCSA requires drivers with a malfunctioning ELD to continue to prepare RODS under 49 CFR 395.8 until it has been repaired and put back into service. A driver cannot continue to record RODS on a paper or alternative electronic log for more than eight days after reporting the ELD malfunction. The risk of continuing to record hours and other data on paper or via electronic software for longer than eight days is that the FMCSA could declare the commercial vehicle out of service.
Apply for an extension if the device cannot be fixed in less than eight days.
If it’s not possible to repair the ELD device in the required timeframe and you cannot obtain a replacement, you will need to apply to the FMCSA for an extension. These types of requests go through the Division Administrator of the FMCSA in the state you consider your principal place of operation for your commercial trucking business.
You will remain compliant after submitting your request until the FMCSA Division Administrator has time to make an appropriate determination. It is important to continue to record hours of service and other requirements on paper logs or electronic software in the meantime.
Do you need to upgrade your commercial truck insurance?
As a commercial trucker or owner-operator, you know that you need to carry auto liability insurance at a minimum. The FMCSA requires this in case you cause injury or property damage to another motorist. However, insurance needs change as trucking businesses take on different types of loads, start completing interstate travel, or decide to transport hazardous materials.
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