According to the United States Department of Transportation, 51% of road accidents involve at least one large truck. The safety of your drivers and the public is a top priority. That’s why you need to take DOT regulations seriously even down to what documentation your drivers carry in their trucks. Not knowing is not an excuse and could lead to fines, delays, and even accidents. So, what electronic logging device (ELD) user documentation must be onboard a driver’s commercial motor vehicle? Here’s what you need to know.
DOT documentation requirements for ELDs
Any driver using an ELD must keep a documentation packet on their truck. This documentation not only provides a reference for the driver should they have any issues with their ELD. As far as law enforcement and inspections are concerned, it provides an element of proof that your drivers have been thoroughly trained on the safe and effective use of their electronic logging device.
When inspected your driver must have:
- A user’s manual – It describes how to safely and properly use the ELD without putting the driver or others at risk.
- Instruction sheet 1 – This describes in basic terminology the mechanisms of data transfer that the ELD supports. It’s laid out in an easy to understand, step-by-step way and explains how the driver’s hours-of-service records are produced and transferred when requested by an authorized safety official.
- Instruction sheet 2 – This sheet describes again in an easy to understand, step-by-step way what to do if the electronic logging device malfunctions. An ELD malfunction requires clear recordkeeping according to protocol until the unit can be fixed. A malfunctioning ELD is never an excuse not to properly log hours.
- Blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) – These graph grids allow a driver to record duty status for at least 8 days.
Recent changes in the ELD user documentation requirements
Prior to 2018, instruction sheet 2 (ELD malfunction sheet) referenced above was not required. It’s easy to see why the industry needed to ensure that each trucking company has provided clearly established guidelines to drivers in the event of a malfunction of the ELD.
Why is ELD documentation so important?
This DOT requirement supports the fact that safety is a top priority. ELD violations can cost a driver, their company, and the public if accidents happen due to, for example, unlogged hours on the road. One of the fastest ways to fail an inspection is failing to keep the appropriate documentation in your trucks.
On top of the ramifications from failed inspections and accidents, proper documentation can support your driver in the event of an accident. They can demonstrate that they’re logging hours properly and not driving more hours than permitted. You can demonstrate that you provide your drivers with the tools they need to safely and correctly operate their electronic logging device. As you know, truck drivers and driving companies very often attract the blame for collisions.
Proper documentation and the correct use of the ELD by your drivers is just one more thing you can do to protect drivers and your companies from litigation. And speaking of protecting your company, it’s time to review your truck insurance coverage. Get an easy online quote today.