October 25, 2017

How ELDs Can Help Drivers Comply with Federal Regulations

How ELDs Can Help Drivers Comply with Federal Regulations

The trucking industry’s regulatory landscape is an ever-changing one. For better or for worse, the U.S. government has enacted several policies in the past that have shaped the industry into how it is now.

However, even with all the previous regulations that have been implemented, new policies are still expected to be introduced. In fact, the newest one is bound to take effect this December 18, 2017 — the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

The good news, however, is that the final ELD rule has lots of benefits for truckers, fleet managers, and carriers. Moreover, the ELD mandate can also help drivers comply with many federal regulations.

It doesn’t add to the challenges that drivers are facing. Instead, it helps eliminate some of their regulatory burdens, making it easier for drivers to comply with federal regulations.

Following are some of the many ways that drivers can benefit from using ELDs.

Protection Against Driver Harassment and Coercion

A good number of drivers have raised their concerns about getting harassed or coerced into driving illegally.

Some carriers harass or coerce their drivers to run past their Hours of Service (HOS) limits. Sadly, when drivers get caught by safety inspectors, they deal with the problem on their own since carriers can simply deny having to do anything with the driver’s illegal run.

What makes things worse is the fact that when drivers run past their HOS limits, they’d most likely be fatigued and drowsy. Considering how driver fatigue and drowsiness are two of the main causes of road crashes and accidents, the severity of the problem becomes even more glaring.

No matter how you look at it, drivers’ lives and careers are put in jeopardy when they are harassed and coerced into running illegally. The problem has become so grave that one of the key requirements of the upcoming ELD rule is to prohibit driver harassment.

According to the FMCSA, the ELD rule, “prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.“

With ELDs installed in their vehicles, drivers can be protected against harassment and driver coercion.

Following are two major ways ELDs protect drivers:

1. ELDs are tamper-resistant

Drivers and carriers have limited abilities to make edits to the ELD’s records. It’s also worth noting that the original records cannot be edited.

Because there will always be an electronic breadcrumb that would point to the revised and original records, carriers won’t be able to force drivers into violating their Hours of Service limits.

Not only that, but the drivers will also have final authority on driver edits. It means that they can accept or reject the edits suggested by their fleet managers.

2. The ELD mandate encourages drivers to file coercion complaints

When drivers feel they’ve been harassed by their carriers, they can file a written complaint under 49 CFR 386.12(b).

Here are some of the things that drivers need to remember when filing a complaint:

  • They should file no later than 90 days from the time they were harassed.
  • The driver should include their name, address, and telephone number.
  • The name and address of the carrier that harassed them.
  • A complete and concise statement of the facts that will substantiate their harassment allegation.

Hours-of-Service Regulations & Compliance

Through the use of ELDs, drivers will have an easier time tracking their driving hours and staying within their Hours-of-Service limits.

Because ELDs are connected to the truck’s Electronic Control Module (ECM), they track the vehicle’s movements automatically. It means that instead of the drivers having to log their Record of Duty Status (RODS) manually — which can take a few minutes, or several hours (from an annual perspective) — ELDs do that for drivers.

With no more manual logging and wasting valuable time, drivers can finally focus on what they do best — driving.

What’s more, drivers won’t have to keep a mental note of how much driving hours they have left. ELDs give audible notifications to drivers if there is an upcoming HOS violation, so they can find a safe place to park in time.

Avoiding Form & Manner Violations

While Form & Manner violations will only garner truckers a 1-point violation to their Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score, if left unchecked, it can easily add up and damage their CSA scores in the long run.

There are several factors that come into play when Form & Manner violations are involved, such as:

  • Missing log sheets
  • Missing miles
  • Co-driver name missing
  • Duplicate logs
  • Date missing
  • Hours missing error
  • Graph incomplete error

The good news, however, is that drivers won’t have to worry about most of these when they’re using ELDs.

Since driver’s RODS will now become digital, thanks to the ELDs that track pertinent details automatically, their likelihood of getting hit with a Form & Manner violation basically vanishes.

Vehicle-Related Violations

Vehicle-related violations are more common than most carriers and driver think. These violations can easily impact their scores negatively, which, in turn, can have adverse effects on their careers.

It’s because of this that drivers need to give due diligence to their vehicle maintenance routines. They need to be systematic about their vehicle maintenance and be consistent with it. Otherwise, they are expected to miss potential vehicle-related issues, which will get them into trouble during inspections.

Our KeepTruckin ELDs can help drivers with that.

KeepTruckin ELDs have vehicle inspection and diagnostic features that drivers can use to help them with their vehicle inspection and maintenance. For example, our vehicle diagnostic feature will send real-time alerts whenever a fault code is detected. Drivers can then pull up and do a quick maintenance check to make sure everything is in order.

In addition, our ELDs can also be used to monitor recurring maintenance problems by accessing the historical fault-code reports for each vehicle.

When drivers are made aware of their vehicles’ recurring maintenance problems, they can be more cautious with how they handle their trucks to avoid the same issues over and over again.

What’s Next?

With all the features that ELDs possess, truck drivers will surely find it easier to comply with federal regulations.

Drivers will be alerted when they’re nearing a violation. They can avoid Form & Manner violations as well as Inspection and Maintenance violations.

Of course, these are just some of the many benefits that drivers are going to enjoy with ELDs.

Request a free ELD demo to see how it all comes together.

If you have any question, give us a call at 855-434-ELOG or send us an email at support@keeptruckin.com.

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