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The ELD Mandate is almost here: Are you ready?

by Colleen Suo

It seems within the last few years, there has been an increase in the amount of required technology within the construction industry as a whole.

When it comes to ELDs (electronic logging devices), wading through the murky waters of what program or system you need can be intimidating.

During a recent webinar, Executive VP of BSM Technologies, Brendan Shaw hit on the need-to-know points of the mandate, which takes effect on December 18, 2017 and what to look for in a provider or vendor.

Shaw explained that ELDs are a replacement for the AOBRD (automatic on-board recording device) regulation of a few years ago. “The ELD is taking the place of paper logbooks. They need to be able to connect up to the engine to keep track of the duty status of the operator.”

The stated purpose of the mandate is to “promote worker safety by way of managing operator fatigue”, which in turn means less accidents and loss of life. Other stated benefits of the mandate include the elimination of violations caused by inspection lapses and on-duty hour overages; elimination of fines — $2500 per incident / $11,000 per company; as well as better record keeping, lowering vehicle downtime and saving money.

Most newer models of heavy equipment utilize this type of technology in an on-board telematics program which enables you to track speed, idle time, fuel usage, engage GPS monitoring, geofencing and the like. An ELD program with the right provider, Shaw remarked, will enable you to do these same functions — and more — with your vehicles.

Some benefits mentioned include the following:

  • Maximizing utilization of your vehicle —

If you have a service contract with a particular repair shop, you can geofence

the location. This can allow you to work with your vendors to get your vehicles turned around quickly.

  • Project forecasting —

Being able to take the data you get from the telematics of the ELD system to accurately integrate to your business systems — using it for your own job costing and other criteria w/regard to the vehicle information.

  • Increase operational efficiencies —

Using geo-locations and engine hours you can attain better maintenance, as well as keeping track of duty status of drivers.

  • Reducing unnecessary costs —

The largest of which is fuel costs by reducing idling times. Theft detection (and locating the vehicle) as well as unauthorized use alerts are added assets.

So, who or what is affected? All commercial motor vehicles as defined by 390.5:

  • Vehicles over 10,000 pounds
  • Carries 9 or more passengers
  • Transports hazardous materials.

The mandate is expected to affect 3.1 million trucks, and 3.4 million drivers.

Shaw stated, “The vehicle itself has to mandate the changes to the duty cycle.” Slightly differing parameters affect property carriers and passenger carriers as shown in the chart.

“The ELD you choose must directly monitor the engine to automatically capture power, motion, mileage and hours in order to calculate drive time associated to the drivers themselves. Your drivers must be able to login and out and select their status. All the devices must have the ability to show others the hours of service in an easy, readable format.”

The actual device could be an existing tablet or computer, fixed or mobile. Fixed would be hard wired into the vehicle and prohibitive for walk-around inspections. Providers should be able to work with iOS, Android or Windows operating systems — you will need to know if they are compatible with your current OS and determine whether a fixed or mobile unit would best suit your company.

There are 171 individual regulations in the ELD Mandate covering different requirements for different sectors. If you are currently using an AOBRD solution, you will be grandfathered in with a two-year extension to upgrade to an ELD solution.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a provider or vendor:

  • Does their program have the ability to track ghost trips? (ie: drivers that are driving that have not signed in) You have to be able to capture that data under the mandate.
  • There is a “driver harassment rule set” within the 171 requirements — will the program be able to discern and mask off-duty travel?
  • Does your company use a truck with tow-behind equipment at a combined weight of over 10,000 lbs. at any time? If so, you are now required to have a graph log.
  • Will the system be able to set parameters to coincide with the 150 air-mile radius for non-CDL drivers and 100 air-mile radius for commercial? If you’re working within these radiuses per category, you are exempt (no break required). However, as soon as you breach that line, you will be required to follow the rules of the mandate – tracking hours, 30 min. break, etc. The program has to be flexible to know when you’ve gone outside the exempt zone.
  • You want to make sure the solution you are looking at offers flexibility for DVIR — customized menus or custom questions per type of truck (boom truck vs. dump truck for example). Does it have walk-around ability; ability to scan NFC or QR codes in order to force the driver to do a walk-around inspection? This will allow you to see how much time is spent on the inspection process.
  • Is there flexibility to include additional assets in your inventory such as trailers, generators, light stands, or any other towed equipment?
  • Does the program have the capability to incorporate the personal conveyance rule set? (An employee who has use of the company truck when off duty / personal use.)
  • Does the provider or vendor provide on-site training — and if so how extensive is it. Also what type of technical support do they offer?

Shaw emphasized, “There is a hierarchy of rule sets” — where one (state or federal) leaves off concerning your movements, the other one picks up. The system you choose has to be able to access and comply with the federal mandate regulations once your business takes you out of your state’s parameters.

What is the bottom line for you? If you are currently using an AOBRD solution, don’t wait until the 11th hour to find an ELD provider or vendor. If you need an ELD program to be in compliance, you should choose a reputable and knowledgeable vendor, provider or in-house technician so you can take full advantage of this technology to help your business run in compliance more safely and efficiently.


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