Commercial truck drivers and fleet managers use electronic logging devices, also known as ELDs, to record data related to their endeavors and the activities of the vehicles they are driving. An ELD is a tablet computer that plugs into the OBD port (a space designed in the vehicle to connect the ELD) of the vehicle effortlessly. Most trucks require a logging device installed because of the FMCSA’s ELD mandate, which came into effect on December 18, 2017.
So, in case you are a commercial truck driver and wondering, ‘can I drive a truck without an ELD?’ The answer is probably ‘no’ until you are a short-haul driver or your vehicle model is dated 1999 or before. The primary function of an ELD is to record the HoS (Hours of Service). In simple terms, truck drivers need an ELD installed in their vehicles to record their driving time.
Not only the driving time but an ELD also helps record data such as speed, real-time location, collisions, harsh breakings, mileage and idling time, etc. After installing ELD in your truck, vehicle safety and management become more efficient. ELDs have saved truck drivers a lot of paperwork, not to mention the incredible amount of safety provided by these simple logging devices.
ELDs can record rough driving. This data is immensely helpful in improving the training methods of driving, which help to prevent accidents.
What are HoS and the consequences of violating them?
‘Hours of service’ refers to the maximum time a driver can be on duty. HoS legislates how many hours a driver can work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It also stipulates the number and length of the breaks in between work hours. The purpose of HoS regulations is to ensure driver safety.
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Before the ELD mandate, drivers would manipulate their logging information to work extra hours for extra pay, this results in driver fatigue most of the time.
Sleep deprivation and fatigue cause crashes and accidents. According to the HoS rule, drivers can not be on duty for over 14 hours and can not drive for over 11 hours out of those 14 hours. Also, drivers must have at least 10 consecutive off-duty hours before coming on duty again. Further, drivers can not drive all those 11 hours consecutively. So, after a straight eight-hour drive, they are required to take a 30 minutes break.
Drivers who work for seven days consecutively may not be on duty for over 60 hours, while drivers who work for eight consecutive days can not be on duty for over 70 hours.
What happens when fleet managers and truck drivers violate the HoS regulations?
Violating the rules of HoS has serious consequences. Not complying with the regulations can cause the following retributions:
1) They can shut a truck down, which means the truck will remain standing on the roadside until the driver gets enough consecutive off-duty hours to be back on duty.
2)The FMCSA can levy civil penalties ranging from $1,000 to16,000. The penalty depends on the gravity of the violation. Violation being critical enough, the fine can surpass $75,000.
3) Fleet managers who violate the HoS regulations knowingly and drivers who do not comply can be subject to federal criminal penalties.
4) A record of violations can downgrade a carrier’s safety ratings and a driver’s CSA score (compliance, safety, and accountability score).
Six features of an ideal ELD for truck drivers:
It Should record all the data required comprehensively.
One of the crucial functions of an ELD is to register the driver’s activities. An ELD’s manufacturing should be in a way that it keeps a record of all the functionalities of the vehicle. An ideal ELD can readily record extensive data regarding driving time, engine speed, real-time location, Idling time, bumpy driving, and collisions. Good quality ELDs have GPS tracking systems that allow fleet managers to track their driver’s current location whenever it is required. An accelerometer is there that keeps a record of the speed along with a gyroscope to record the angular velocity of the turns. An ELD that does not equip with all these components would prove relatively less efficient than one that does.
It Should be easy to use
ELDs are supposed to be user-friendly. Using technological devices in truck industries can discourage some people, especially people who are not good with technology. Making it particularly important for ELDs to be built in a user-friendly way. It should be easy to install and be automatic for the best user experience and fewer complications.
Poor connectivity is a big thumbs down with ELDs. An ideal ELD has a strong network connection irrespective of the vehicle location. A poor network can lead to a delay in data transmission and can create dysfunction. Good ELDs use 4g technologies for faster and uninterrupted service.
ELD manufacturing companies should have a dedicated team of employees for customer support. The customer support team should always be easily accessible on the phone for the ELD users.
The ELD you use in your trucks is required to be FMCSA-approved.FMCSA approval ensures high functionality and efficiency.
Security and loss prevention
A security feature in an ELD is a game-changer. An ideal ELD has geofencing features which alert the driver to entering an unspecified area. This feature can save the driver from potential threats in that area by being alert in advance.
Introducing ELDs revolutionized the trucking industry. It has affected the overall profit enormously by eliminating millions’ worth of paperwork. ELDs help in preventing logging data fabrication.
It’s a huge contribution to the trucking industry and strictly complies with HoS regulations. Keeping working hours in check ELDs prevents sleep deprivation and driver fatigue. Thanks to the ELDs, we have well-rested and more alert truck drivers. Fleet managers have the technology to track their drivers and maintain their vehicle performance. With the use of this incredible tool, FMCSA can smoothly implement its regulations and can also keep a check on violations.