ELD Hardware – What Do You Need to Become ELD Compliant?
For many smaller LTL and FTL carriers, or private owners/operators, the ELD Mandate has created more questions than answers. While there is a lot of information about electronic logging devices out there, weeding through the sea of ELD product advertisements has created some confusion. To simplify the facts about ELD Hardware and what do you need to become ELD compliant, we’ve listed five of the most important elements that any LTL or FTL carrier must follow to ensure they are not fined and maintain compliance.
Step 1: Understand the ELD Mandate and How it Affects Carriers and Drivers
An ELD is an electronic logging device or an electronic system that allows professional truck drivers and commercial carriers to track their Hours of Service (HOS Compliance). However, there are different rules and some exemptions that are unique to different sizes and types of carriers and drivers. This is what is creating a lot of confusion with what is needed to be compliant. The best place to start ELD Mandate compliance is by learning about the facts. The best source of information with the Electronic Logging Device Mandate is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.
Their website has a ton of factual data that will help carriers and drivers understand exactly what they need to do. Here is a page that you should visit:
• Understanding the Hours of Service Standards
You can also review the exemptions and rules about documenting exemptions by clicking this link.
Step 2: Understand the Timelines of ELD Integration
Although the ELD Mandate was created in 2015, the FMCSA set a few timelines (many of which have passed) that allow carriers to purchase, install, and fine-tune the use of ELDs. Noted below is the timeline as set forth by the ELD Mandate:
• Prior to December 18th, 2017 – operators are permitted to use an ELD system on a voluntary basis – or continued use of paper logs, or device that has been installed with logging applications or software.
• December 18th, 2017 – December 16th, 2019 – Carriers (who do not meet the exemption status) must use ELD’s unless they use AOBRD’s that have been installed before December 17th, 2017.
• December 16th, 2019 – All carriers must use ELDs on a full-time basis.
It would be a good idea for carriers, drivers, owners/operators to visit the ELD Mandate implementation website and read the FAQ section to clarify any confusion. Understand when you must use ELDs in your fleet.
Step 3: Evaluate and Purchase the Right ELD System
While there are several high-quality ELD systems on the market today, there are some that are better suited for certain carriers than others. However, there is one thing that they must have in common – all electronic logging devices must be certified by the manufacturer as compliant with the ELD Mandate. The ELD must also be listed on the FMCSA’s website.
You can browse a list of compliant ELDs by clicking this link.
Step 4: Create and Follow an ELD Best Practices Program
Best practices or BP is used throughout the logistics industry and supply chain to ensure smooth, legal, and safe operation of equipment, facilities, and staff. Using an ELD should be no different. One of the most important items that all carriers must remember is following ELD best practices. There are a few specific areas that you should establish to be in compliance with the ELD Mandate (in case of an audit).
• Set up a program for consistent & clear annotation: This will ensure you follow a consistent process for documenting ELD guidelines.
• Set up a process for submitting & retaining required supporting documents: The FMCSA requires all carriers to maintain records for maintenance, data logging, and other procedures required.
• Set up a process for reporting & resolving ELD equipment or documentation malfunctions and other technical issues.
• Develop a training program for all individuals who use an ELD system: The ELD is used by drivers, compliance managers, and administrative personnel. Each user should be trained on how to use the equipment (both hardware and software) to maintain compliance.
Step 5: Install & Test the ELD System
Once you’ve clarified exactly what you need in the right ELD System, the procedures for documentation, and established best practices, you’ll need to have your ELD System installed and tested. Most manufacturers of ELD systems are good about working with you on installation procedures, and in some instances will provide a lot of technical assistance. There are a few other details you need to remember once the system has been installed.
• Create all user accounts: The mandate states that anyone who accesses this system has their own independent account. This means that all drivers, administration employees, and managers must have their own accounts set up.
• Continue with training: Anytime a software update is needed, make sure that any changes in procedures are passed along to employees using the system.
• Make sure drivers have the required documentation in the vehicle.
The ELD Mandate is designed to streamline the process for maintaining accurate records of driver Hour of Service. When you understand the facts about ELD Hardware and what you need to do to maintain compliance, you’ll reduce confusion, avoid mistakes, and get back to serving your customers.