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Trucking Data Expert Witness:
"Certification of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Begins"

FMCSR Expert / Trucking Regulation Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

Electronic Onboard Recorder (EOBR) and Automatic Onboard Recording Device (AOBRD) technology is soon to be replaced.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has begun registering FMCSA-approved Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) in preparation for its upcoming ELD mandate. ELDs will likely be required beginning sometime in late 2016 or early 2017.


The agency says it will maintain a list on its website of current ELD makers and devices that are certified to meet federally required specifications.


The ELD rule consists of four parts:

(1) The requirement that ELDs be used in Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs),

(2) Protections against driver harassment

(3) Required hardware and software specifications for the devices

(4) The hours of service (HOS) supporting documents drivers must continue to carry after the mandate.


ELD: Mandating Electronic Logging Devices


The mandate will apply to all drivers who are currently required to log their duty status. This includes all drivers who are required to keep records of duty status in eight or more days out of every 30 days. This rule replaces the 2011 rule which requires drivers to keep records of duty status two or more days out of every seven.

Carriers and drivers will have two years to install and begin using ELDs after the effective date of the final rule. Carriers who have already been using EOBR technology will have an additional two years to implement certified devices.


ELD: The Driver Harassment Provision


The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago Il.  threw out the FMCSA’s 2010 rule requiring EOBRs for motor carriers, telling the safety agency it must rewrite its rule to ensure the devices won’t be used to harass drivers. The August 2011 ruling said: “The agency needs to consider what types of harassment already exist, how frequently and to what extent harassment happens, and how an electronic device capable of contemporaneous transmission of information to a motor carrier will guard against (or fail to guard against) harassment.”


The new ELD rule includes provisions to prevent driver harassment involving ELDs. The harassment provision has two parts relative to driver harassment. First is the part that prevents companies from pressuring drivers to exceed hours of service (HOS) limits and second it requires devices to have a mute function which prevents communication notices from affecting drivers’ rest periods.

This provision allows drivers to access records requires that drivers have the ability to edit their logs, and limits location tracking.The provision also stiffens penalties for companies that do harass drivers and provides a driver complaint procedure which preserves driver confidentiality in enforcement proceedings.


ELD: Hardware Specifications


The ELDs required by the new rule are more technologically advanced than those required by the April 2010 rule. New ELDs must be integrated into the truck’s engine computer system and track the truck’s location.ELDs will be required to capture power status, motion status, miles driven and engine runtime.


The ELDs must be tamper-resistant yet allow the driver as well as the carrier to annotate the record as well as correct the records.


Some changes in driver status have to be automatic and recorded at 60 minute intervals. These status changes would be triggered by movement as determined by GPS and engine on or off status.


Devices must also display a graph, similar to the current driver’s log book, either on the screen of the ELD or in a printout produced by the ELD.


ELDs must be registered and certified by the FMCSA. The FMCSA says it expects the currently over 20 ELD makers to register nearly 90 of their current devices. This registration and certification process will ensure consistency of information collected as well as the connectivity and reporting.


ELD: Supporting Documents are also Required


The new requirement does not necessarily make the industry paperless. Carriers and drivers will still be required to maintain other documentation that verifies drivers’ HOS records. These supporting documents can be in either paper or electronic form. The rule does not, however, require drivers and carriers to keep “drive time” documents but only documents that verify the drivers “On Duty” time. For every 24-hour period the driver is on duty, carriers must maintain up to ten supporting documents from these categories:

1) Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules or other documents that show trip origin and destination
2) Dispatch records, trip records or similar documents
3) Expense receipts
4) Electronic mobile communication records sent through fleet management systems
5) Payroll records, settlement sheets or similar documents that show what and how a driver was paid.


It is estimated that installing an ELD in each truck will have an annual cost between $165 and $832 for compliance with the rule.


As with current Telematic systems and EOBRs, Evidence Solutions will be able to collect and examine ELD records for validation and detection of fraud.

For more information about data found in truck accidents, contact our Electronic Evidence Division: 866-795-7166


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