The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict hours of service (HOS) regulations on drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The purpose of these regulations is to ensure drivers are alert and able to drive safely while they are on duty. Strictly following HOS regulations is tricky without reliable technology that tracks the hours drivers spend on the road.
Within the past few years, the FMCSA has taken a greater initiative to enforce compliance with HOS regulations by mandating that businesses use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record driving hours. In December 2015, the FMCSA announced their proposed four-year plan to move fleets with CMVs away from paper logs and toward ELDs, also known as e-logs. Since then, the use of paper logs has still been permitted, but this will change on December 18, 2017 when the next phase of the ELD mandate begins.
Not sure whether your fleet needs to get compliant with the new mandate and what it will take to get you there? You’re not alone! Many businesses are still unaware of exactly what the mandate entails. In this article, we’ll break down the specifics of the ELD mandate and discuss what aspects you must demand from your technology solution if your fleet is required to comply.
Which drivers and vehicles are impacted by the ELD rule?
According to resources published by the FMCSA regarding the ELD mandate, the rule applies to “most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a).”
Commercial buses and trucks both fall under the mandate, and Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers must comply when they are operating within the United States.
The FMCSA states that exceptions to the ELD rule include:
- Drivers who operate under short-haul exceptions
- Drivers who use RODs for no more than 8 days out of each 30-day period
- Driveaway-towaway operations
- Vehicles manufactured before 2000
Even if part of your fleet is exempt from the ELD rule, installing registered ELDs in every last vehicle is ideal. This helps to maintain consistency and avoid accidental violations if drivers swap vehicles.
When does the ELD mandate go into effect?
December 18, 2017 is the date that the first phase of the ELD mandate goes into effect. Paper logs will no longer be considered acceptable when this date rolls around. However, the full compliance date is actually December 16, 2019. During the two-year window between these dates, certain automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) may still be permitted although they do not meet the regulatory standards for e-logs.
Only AOBRDs installed before the December 2017 compliance date will be grandfathered in. Once December 2019 comes along, motor carriers and their drivers will no longer be compliant unless they upgrade to registered ELDs. Section 395.15 (a) of the ELD final rule discusses grandfathered AOBRDs in further detail.
What should you look for in an e-log solution?
In order to qualify as a registered ELD, a solution must capture accurate vehicle data via engine monitoring. The provider of your ELD solution should offer the support needed to make a seamless transition from your existing method of tracking HOS. The solution should also be simple for drivers to use; if drivers feel confident in using the ELD software, this will translate to fewer violations and better reporting accuracy.
By collecting vehicle data, you can learn so much more than just the hours your drivers spend on the road. Fleet tracking technology and e-logs have many benefits that go beyond ensuring HOS compliance, which may encompass:
- Monitoring fuel usage to reduce wasted costs
- Tracking unsafe driver behaviors such as speeding and harsh acceleration
- GPS location tracking to ensure you know where your vehicles are at all times
- Geofences and instant alerts when vehicles go outside the boundaries you set
Businesses that have access to accurate vehicle data are empowered to make better and more strategic decisions and thus increase their efficiency and profitability.
Track your fleet and comply with the ELD rule with SkyBitz
SkyBitz, a leader in commercial telematics and fleet tracking, has introduced an ELD solution to help businesses stay compliant with the FMCSA’s mandate. Unlike solutions that only provide ELD and Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) functionality, the SkyBitz e-log solution also delivers fleet tracking and management information critical to running an efficient business.
ELD reports available with the SkyBitz e-log solution include:
- HOS Availability Report: Know which drivers to dispatch and when with real-time hours of service availability.
- Log Report: Review each driver’s individual log, make edits, and print multiple logs.
- HOS Violation Report: See any and all violations. Violations can be sorted by type to show safety personnel which violation occurrence is happening most often. Identify where additional driver training may be necessary.
- Conflicts Report: Identify omissions and inconsistencies in a driver’s log and resolve them to prevent violations.
- Missing Miles Report: Identify miles where no driver was logged in and resolve them to prevent violations.
- Exceptions Report: See which drivers are taking exceptions to ensure drivers are taking appropriate exceptions.
The SkyBitz ELD solution is easy to use and user friendly with guided driver workflows and color-oriented graphs showing driver availability. With software by SkyBitz, the task of moving from paper logs to electronic logs is painless. The app comes preloaded on a removable, mountable tablet with a large color touchscreen. There’s no better way to meet the ELD mandate and avoid HOS violations!
December 18, 2017 will be here before you know it. Don’t put off transitioning to an FMCSA-compliant e-log solution. Contact SkyBitz today to learn more about ELDs!