Driver Questions Regarding ELD & How to Answer Them
With the ELD mandate going into effect in December, fleets need to be ready not only to meet the technical requirements but also have their drivers ready to navigate the changes that the new rule will bring to the way they do their day-to-day work.
The FMCSA issued a ruling that mandates the implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to measure drivers’ hours of service (HOS) beginning December 18, 2017. The ELD rule is intended to make the logging of drivers’ records of duty status (RODS) easier, faster, and more accurate to track, manage, and share duty status data.
An ELD is required to automatically record the following data elements at certain intervals:
Identification number for the driver, authenticated user, vehicle, & motor carrier
While there are some exceptions, the ELD rule applies to most fleets and drivers who are currently required to maintain RODS per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a).
There is no requirement that drivers receive a warning when they are getting close to their HOS limit. However, the good news is that it is allowed under the rule. There are ELD systems, such as the HOS solution GPS Insight offers, that displays a driver’s remaining hours and will alert him or her when the limit is reached.
Drivers should be made aware that an ELD is required to activate as soon as a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is moving at a speed of five mph. At this point, driving time will begin to accrue. The vehicle will be “stopped” once its speed falls to zero mph and stays that way for three consecutive seconds.
When the duty status is set to driving, and the CMV has not been moving for five consecutive minutes, the ELD is required to prompt the driver to confirm a continued driving status or enter the proper duty status. If the driver does not respond to the ELD prompt within one minute, the ELD must automatically switch the duty status to “on-duty not driving.”
The FMCSA explicitly prohibits fleets from harassing or coercing drivers into knowingly violating HOS rules under 49 CFR 392.3. These rules prohibit carriers from requiring drivers to operate their vehicles when their ability or alertness is impaired due to fatigue, illness, or other causes that compromise safety.
To constitute harassment, the information about the driver’s state must be available to fleet leadership through an ELD or other technology used in combination with an ELD, such as a fleet management information system. Coercion is much broader in its terms, but typically involves threats against the driver, such as withholding work or other actions related to his or her employment. However, unlike harassment, coercion does not have to involve violating hours of service.
Driver accounts will be created by entering the driver’s license number and the state of jurisdiction that issued the driving credentials. The use of these credentials is only for the purpose of setting up the driver’s account in the ELD and to verify his or her identity. It is not required for the daily log in. ELD providers, such as GPS Insight, allow the driver to create a unique, secure login to his or her individual driving record.
Fleet staff can make limited edits to an ELD record to correct mistakes and/or add missing information. All edits must include a note to explain the reason for the edit, and the driver is required to verify any edit made by fleet personnel. The record then needs to be resubmitted. It must be notated if the driver does not re-certify the record.
Annotations can be used to indicate the beginning and end of a period of authorized person CMV use or yard moves, as well as other special driving categories, such as adverse driving conditions (49 CFR 395.1(b)) or oilfield operations (49 CFR 295.1(d)).
While edited records are designed to ensure that the driver’s record is factually accurate, the electronic record must also retain the original, as well as the date, time, and identity of the person entering the corrections of edits. Drivers should be made aware that an ELD automatically records all vehicle motion as “driving time” and it cannot be changed to “non-driving time” through an ELD edit.
Since there may be instances when an ELD malfunctions and does not accurately record a driver’s HOS and other required data, the driver must take the following three steps:
There will undoubtedly be other technical and operational questions that drivers, fleet personnel, and stakeholders need to get answered beyond those listed above. The FMCSA has provided a comprehensive list of technical and operational questions here to guide the implementation and smooth operation of fleet ELDs.