8 things you need to know about ELDs

Truckers are subject to many rules, and one of the latest regulations to make a buzz in the trucking world is ELDs. The ELD rule is a big deal, and though it’s been in effect for a while now you might still have some questions about it. What is the rule? Does it affect you? And, well, what exactly is an ELD? We’ve put together some of the “need-to-know” information about ELDs.

8 things to know about ELDs.

1. ELDs record a driver’s drive time.

ELD stands for electronic logging device. The device is meant to monitor a driver’s drive time; since it’s all electronic, it’s meant to be easy, accurate, and helpful. Though the device is meant to keep track of driver hours to ensure they don’t exceed hours of service regulations, it does more than just keep a tally of time. It monitors the actual engine of the truck, so it knows when the engine is on, when the vehicle is moving, how many miles the vehicle has gone, and the hours of engine operation.

2. Your ELD must meet the appropriate standards.

Your ELD must also be properly certified. The manufacturers of ELDs certify that their product fulfills the standards set forth by the ELD rule. It’s important that your ELD meets regulations – and, of course, that it works the way it’s supposed to.

3. There are a few exceptions to the ELD rule.

In general, most motor carriers who have to keep Records of Duty Status (RODS) in accordance with Part 345, 49 CFR 395.8(a) of FMCSA regulations have to adhere to the ELD rule. So, if you need to keep RODS, you’re probably subject to the ELD rule. (It’s important that you familiarize yourself with it to make sure you’re in compliance.)

However, there are a few – truly a few – exceptions to the ELD rule. Those include…

  • Drivers who are included in the short-haul exception. These drivers are not required to use paper RODS and don’t have to use ELDs. They can use time cards.
  • Drivers who use paper RODs for fewer than 8 days out of 30.
  • Drive-away operations where the driver is driving the vehicle that is the commodity to be delivered.
  • Vehicles with manufacture years before 2000.

These are the exceptions to the ELD rule, which is very clear about who needs to follow the ELD rule. It’s crucial that you be in compliance if the rule applies to you. And it’s also important to note that those who fall under these exceptions still have to be able to create RODS when necessary.

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4. The rule sets requirements for what documentation you have to carry in the truck.

You also need to make sure to carry the appropriate supporting documentation in the truck at all times. This is something else that the rule dictates. For example, drivers using ELDs must carry the following items:

  • The ELD’s user manual.
  • The instruction sheet that gives step-by-step directions on how to get the hours of service records to the safety official (the instruction sheet should also explain what types of data transfer are possible).
  • Instructions for the driver that go over ELD malfunction reporting requirements – and details about recordkeeping during the malfunction.
  • A stash of blank RODS graph-grids that will last a minimum of 8 days in case the driver has to use them to record their duty status.

You’ve got to make sure that you keep these things in the truck, as these are required.

5. The ELD can be on a smartphone.

Your ELD can be on a smartphone (or another wireless gadget.) It just has to meet the requirements set forth by the ELD rule.

6. The motor carrier has to hold ELD data for a set amount of time.

The motor carrier has to hold onto ELD data (and backup data) for six months. Something else to know is that the backup copy of ELD data has to be on a different device than where the original data is kept. Also, the motor carrier has to protect driver privacy when they store the ELD data.

7. The ELD rule forbids harassment over ELD data.

The FMCSA views harassment as when a motor carrier is aware or should have been aware that its action to a driver would cause the driver to be in violation of the Hours of Service requirement. Basically, a carrier can’t force a driver to drive if they are fatigued, sick, or otherwise unable to operate the vehicle safely. It’s considered harassment if the action includes information that the carrier can see through the ELD.

8. The FMCSA has resources to assist with ELDs.

You can get more information about the ELD rule through the FMCSA. They have an entire website about ELDs that provides tons of useful resources.

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So, that’s a brief overview about ELDs and what they do. While this rule and the other regulations truckers have to know about might seem overwhelming, you don’t have to go it alone. Our team of transportation insurance professionals can help. Get in touch by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.