WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Training Centre hosted a webinar today to explain the new electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.
The webinar was titled “Introduction to the Electronic Logging Device Rule and Implementation Plan” and provided an overview and further clarification of the ELD rule that was put into effect in December 2015. According to organizers, the webinar was supposed to be seen as a tool for the trucking industry to further understand how the ELD rule will be enforced in the near future. The new rule will require truck driver in the US, as well as nearly 140,000 Canadians who operate there to update how they track and present their hours of service.
LaTonya Mimms, transportation specialist with the FMCSA Enforcement division kicked off the presentation by explaining to viewers there are three ELD implementation phases. The first from February 16, 2016 – December 18, 2017 is called the awareness and transition phase, she said. During this phase, ELDs may be registered and used voluntarily.
“Carriers may continue to use paper RODs AOBRDs, and devices with logging software applications during this time,” she added.
The second phase is the phased-in compliance phase, which runs from December 18, 2017 – December 16, 2019. During this phase, AOBRDs that were installed before the compliance date can still be used (grandfathered).
However, at the last phase, the full compliance phase, AOBRDs must be upgraded or replaced with ELDs by December 16, 2019.
“During the full compliance phase, only ELDs will be permitted,” said Mimms.
ELDs are going to change the way roadside inspections are traditionally carried out.
According to the FMCSA, during phase 1, it is required that record of duty (ROD) status must be shared as either a printout (an ELD option) or with a screen display visible to an enforcement officer without entering the vehicle during a roadside inspection.
Danielle Smith, transportation specialist with the FMCSA passenger carrier division, noted that the main difference between the daily header from an ELD to a paper ROD is the additional information the ELD provides. The daily header with the ELD includes things like VIN, engine hours, odometer reading, and driver’s licence number.
Before publishing its final rule, the FMCSA passed a law that prohibits the coercion of drivers to addressing concerns that e-logs could be used to bully drivers.
The FMCSA addressed this in the webinar. During the webinar, Mike Huntley, division chief of the FMCSA vehicle and roadside operation division explained the FMCSA defines harassment as action taken by a motor carrier that the carrier knew (or should have known) would result in a driver violating the Hours of service rules. If a carrier harasses a driver, he/she will receive a penalty for harassment in addition to the HOS violation.
He explained the required features of an ELD that will prevent harassment.
A required mute function that ensures a driver is not interrupted in the sleeper berth
Limited ability to edit ELD records for both drivers and motor carriers
Require driver approval when a carrier edits an ELD record
“All edits, whether made by a driver or a motor carrier, will be annotated to document the reason for the change,” Huntley explained. “This will help the driver retain control of the ROD and prevent harassment.”
In addition, Huntley said that drivers will also have access to their own ELD record (with a unique login ID) without having to ask their carriers for their record.
This will help the driver ensure that the record hasn’t been edited without his/her authorization, said Huntley.
As well, drivers who want to file a formal harassment complaint can do so within 90 days of the event either using the National Consumer Compliant Database or with the FMCSA Division Administrator for the State where the driver is employed.
The FMCSA has scheduled a second webinar on February 11, 2016 titled “ELD Phase I: Transition and Awareness.” This webinar, according to the FMCSA, will focus on the first phase of the mandate’s implementation and what carriers can expect during roadside inspections during this time.