The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all commercial truckers to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their vehicle to record specific information. The ELD has replaced paper logs and electronic onboard recorders since that device was not standardized for the entire industry. The FMCSA required all carriers to install ELDs by December 2017 and to be in full compliance by December 2019.
What is recorded by an ELD?
Currently, an ELD records the following information at regular intervals:
- Authenticated user
- Driver identification information
- Engine hours
- Motor carrier
- Vehicle miles
The ELD devices stores this data in a standard format that makes for easier upload. The FMCSA routinely reviews the data, and police officers may also review the information stored in an ELD device after a motor carrier has been in an accident or committed a significant violation.
Other purposes for installing ELDs.
Before ELDs came along, trucking company owners had to rely on drivers to keep their own paper records. Installing a compliant ELD device is one way to ensure that commercial truck drivers don’t use a company vehicle for personal use. It also ensures that they don’t violate hours of service regulations set by the FMCSA. Although its use is still very new, the FMCSA believes ELDs have reduced accidents caused by driver fatigue.
Who is required to install an ELD?
Motor carriers that are currently required to complete a record of duty status (RODS) must also comply with the Electronic Logging Device requirement. The FMCSA rule applies to most commercial truckers in addition to commercial buses and domiciled drivers with Canada to Mexico routes. The new ruling does allow for the following limited exceptions:
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000.
- Drivers who currently operate fleets under the short-haul exceptions are permitted to continue the use of timecards and do not need to complete RODS or install an ELD.
- Drive-away-tow-away operation in which the vehicle the driver is currently driving is the commodity he or she is delivering to a customer.
- Drivers who currently use paper RODs for less than eight hours during any 30-day reporting period
ELD Documentation Requirement.
In addition to the actual installation of an electronic logging device, the FMCSA requires drivers to carry a full information packet regarding the ELD with them in the commercial vehicle. The information packet must include the following:
- A user’s manual that describes how to operate the ELD
- An adequate supply of blank RODS graphing grids that record the duty status of the driver for at least eight days
- A detailed instruction sheet that describes the transfer of data mechanisms the ELD supports along with instructions on how to produce and transfer hour-of-service records to authorized personnel
- Instructions on how to report and record ELD malfunctions
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