February 24, 2016

ELD System Requirements: What to Know Before You Buy

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The final ELD rule goes into effect on December 16, 2017 and will require most commercial drivers keeping a Record of Duty Status to switch to ELDs. Many carriers have begun their ELD research, but most have yet to consider the technical specifications of the device as outlined by the FMCSA. It’s important to not only understand how the device works, but also what responsibilities one has as a driver or supervisor, and how ELDs change the process of DOT inspections.


How does an ELD record duty statuses automatically?
ELDs record drive time automatically, but all other duty statuses are still set by the driver. When a vehicle goes 5 MPH or more, the ELD automatically sets a driver’s duty status to driving. While the vehicle is in motion, the ELD is effectively frozen and no changes can be made. If the vehicle slows to a speed below 5 MPH, the vehicle is not considered in motion and the ELD will prompt the driver to change his or her duty status. If no selection is made within 5 minutes, the ELD will automatically change the driver’s duty status from driving to on-duty.

For ELDs that pair with smartphones, should data be stored on the ELD or smartphone?
ELDs must be able to store data collected from the engine on the hardware itself. This ensures that information is still captured in case the smartphone is not connected. Additionally, the ELD must include GPS functionality. Many ELD providers are scrambling to change their devices because their current solutions are not capable of storing the required information or capturing GPS on the hardware.

What is an ELD user account?
All drivers and supervisors must have registered user accounts for their ELD. A driver account includes license information and each time a driver begins a shift, he or she is required to sign-in to the device.

How are changes to a log record made?
The original log record cannot be removed, but annotations can be added. Any edits must be assigned to a user. The final electronic log includes the original record, the updated record, and the details of the edit.

How is personal drive time recorded?
Personal conveyance is considered a special driving period and the device will record driving completed during this time period as off-duty.

How often is data collected and stored by the ELD?
According to the FMCSA, electronic logging devices must collect data at least once every hour and at regular intervals, including at startup or shutdown, during a duty status change, and when adding a special driving period.

What happens if my ELD-enabled driver gets pulled over?
ELD log records must be certified by a driver after every 24-hour period. The information collected by the device is automatically merged with the information added by the driver and/or supervisor to create the final log for the day, which is then electronically signed and submitted by the driver. Drivers using ELDs no longer have to worry about presenting a hardcopy of their logs to an officer. They simply have to transmit their electronic log records to the officer via WiFi, bluetooth, USB or email. The transmitted log information then undergoes a real-time, automatic audit by the hardware installed in the officer’s vehicle.

 

Aside from these required technical specifications, it’s important to also compare ELD providers for price, contract length, ease of use, and the add-on benefits of associated software.

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