The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the final rule mandating fleets to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in all vehicles that are currently required to keep record of duty status (RODS).
Fleets with an integrated ELD solution will monitor and keep record of electronic logs to ensure hours of service (HOS) compliance and give managers and drivers the ability to provide proof upon DOT inspections. ELD solutions will help prevent citations that previously were a result from a driver’s paperwork mistakes.
While ELDs come in many configurations, fleets should research those offerings that incorporate cost and risk reduction capabilities, while also enabling enhanced productivity. ELDs are required to record vehicle location, which means that many fleets will be in the market for logging devices with GPS tracking capabilities.
According to the FMCSA, it is estimated that 3.1 million vehicles will be affected by the December 10 final ruling on the ELD mandate. Now that the final ruling is in place, fleets across the US are required to equip their vehicles with devices to electronically log HOS. Since all vehicles affected by this rule must be equipped with an ELD by December 2017, now is the time to understand the coming changes and fully prepare your organization.
THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE
In 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was put into effect to help the FMCSA reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. This law’s intent was to help the FMCSA enter the fleet industry, hold businesses accountable to higher safety standards, and gain the ability to prevent high-risk drivers and vehicles from being on the road with the general public.
Along with these safety standards, this law included a provision calling for the FMCSA to develop a rule requiring that commercial motor vehicles (CMV) use ELDs to record HOS. This provision is what would become the ELD mandate.
THE ELD MANDATE
On December 10, 2015, the FMCSA published the final rule mandating fleets to install an ELD in all vehicles that are currently required to keep RODS. The ELD mandate will replace the previous rule, which required drivers to retain paper logbooks to keep record of their HOS compliance. Paper logging HOS is a huge burden for drivers and managers and is less accurate than electronic logging. The mandate’s intent is to increase safety for drivers and the public, reduce HOS violations, stop drivers from misrepresenting their time on logbooks, and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel.
Featured Image: The benefit of using ELD software goes far beyond just compliancy; there are many ways that a solution will benefit both fleet managers and drivers.
Above: ELD/GPS tracking device and drivers.
Probably the most important question for any organization is: “Are our vehicles/drivers required to comply with the ELD mandate?” Most drivers already must follow the HOS regulations if they drive a CMV and will therefore be subject to the ELD mandate. There is often some confusion on what classifies as a CMV. Generally speaking, a CMV is a truck or truck-tractor with a trailer used to support a business.
Here are some of the current HOS requirements set by the FMCSA to help identify vehicles subject to the new regulations:
- Vehicles that weigh 10,001 lbs or more
- Buses used to transport nine or more passengers, including the driver, for compensation
- Vehicles transporting hazardous materials requiring placards
As with vehicle types, some industries are more likely to be subject to the ELD mandate. The following are affected industries:
- Food Distribution
- Passenger Transportation
- Any other fleet that uses applicable CMVs in interstate commerce
Compliance requires that fleets must equip their vehicles with an ELD and keep record of HOS logs for up to six months. Using ELD software will also help fleets reduce HOS violations and improve Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores.
ELD solutions can benefit fleet managers in a variety of ways. For instance, receiving electronic logs in real-time. Another benefit is improved dispatch, which keeps dispatchers informed on drivers’ current HOS availability to better plan logistics decisions and safeguard against drivers exceeding their HOS threshold. ELD solutions can also prevent citations. Electronic collection of HOS data helps prevent citations and fines that result from a driver’s simple paperwork mistakes.
More immediate bottom line benefits from ELD solutions include receiving insurance discounts. By providing proof that a fleet is HOS compliant, insurance rates can go down. ELD solutions also reduce back office administrative costs. Manually auditing paper logbooks or paying a service provider to do so is costly and consumes human resource assets better applied to more productive fleet management tasks. ELD systems can vastly affect these costs.
ELD benefits also extend to drivers. ELD solutions can help prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel, reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Drivers will also be able to quickly and accurately provide DOT or law enforcement officers current HOS logs, which makes roadside inspections faster and less stressful. Some drivers will gain available hours because the EDL will round duty status changes to the nearest one minute instead of forcing the driver to round off to the nearest 15 minutes—as is the case with paper logs. One of the most beneficial use cases for ELD solutions is that it will significantly reduce paperwork for drivers and allows for more time being productive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
GPS Insight is a top technology provider of GPS fleet tracking and ELD software for businesses and government agencies with mobile assets. Using the GPS Insight Vehicle & Asset Tracking Solutions, customers realize a significant increase in efficiency and gain insight into all aspects of their fleet operations. Fleets work with GPS Insight to solve their fleet challenges through increased revenue, reduced costs, and reduced risk. GPS Insight provides highly flexible solutions, which include a wide range of customized reports, alerts, and other innovative features that can be tailored to meet specific customer requirements and ensure maximum return on investment. Find out more about GPS Insight, visit www.gpsinsight.com.