Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in Trucking

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in Trucking

Technology has revolutionized the trucking industry and aided in road safety measures in various ways, especially since the mandatory implementation of ELDs. An ELD device can record and monitor a commercial driver’s hours of service (HOS) compliance to help them avoid drowsy driving.

Fatigue has always been a considerable contributor to truck accidents, which, nowadays, can be addressed in various ways. However, there are many other things that ELDs have proven to be useful. Here is everything you need to know about ELDs in the trucking industry.

Purpose and Benefits of ELDs in the Trucking Industry

The main purpose of ELDs is to replace traditional paper logbooks that keep track of drivers’ HOS. That’s because the paper logbooks weren’t always accurate or efficient. Now ELDs have taken over, and due to their automatic recording of things like driving time, engine hours, and other data, they contribute to the reduction of errors or record falsifications.

These devices are far more accurate as they capture and record real-time data and have also reduced administrative burdens for drivers and carriers alike. HOS compliance and tracking have never been easier, which also aids in road safety as the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue is reduced.

ELD Mandate

The ELD mandate, which came into effect in 2017 and is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), requires all commercial drivers subject to HOS regulations to use these devices to track their working time.

ELD Functionality

ELD devices must be approved by the FMCSA and are designed to capture and retain various bits of information, such as:

  • Engine hours and miles driven
  • Driver and vehicle identification information
  • Date, time, and location data
  • Engine power and vehicle motion status
  • Duty status changes or annotations/edits performed by authorized personnel or the drivers

ELDs do not only capture data but also provide alerts if a driver is approaching or exceeding their HOS limits. Should a driver ignore the ELD warnings, they can face various repercussions from their employer and the authorities.

ELD Compliance and Transition

Commercial motor vehicle operators must install FMCSA-approved ELDs to comply with the ELD mandate. To remain compliant, carriers and drivers must abide by FMCSA’s requirements and technical specifications.

Should drivers or carriers require assistance on the issue of registering or using certified ELDs, FMCSA provides a list of compliant devices on their official website.

There was a phase-in period for ELDs from 2017 to late 2019. It allowed carriers and drivers enough time to transition from paper logbooks to FMCSA-complaint ELD devices. Nowadays, it is mandatory for applicable drivers to use ELDs; failing to do so will result in various legal repercussions.

ELD Enforcement and Penalties

Non-compliance with the ELD mandate is rare but sometimes occurs. However, carriers and drivers are subjected to penalties and fines when this happens. For example, in a roadside inspection, enforcement officers have the right to review ELD records and confirm compliance or non-compliance with HOS regulations.

If a carrier or driver is non-compliant with the ELD mandate or tampers with the device, they can suffer severe penalties, fines, out-of-service orders, and other repercussions. For example, a carrier’s safety rating can be affected, negatively influencing their insurance premiums and other aspects of their business.

Ultimately, ELDs have played a crucial role in ensuring HOS compliance and how the trucking industry is managed. Since these devices accurately and automatically track a driver’s working hours, they also improve safety and efficiency when it comes to the operation of commercial motor vehicles.

Related posts