What is an ELD in trucking?
An electronic logging device with an electronic logbook (elog) is an essential part of the new ELD standards in the USA. ELD manufacturers ask you to buy ELD devices for your truck in any case.
ELD Standards throughout the USA
It is necessary to understand ELD standards to follow the transport law, not commit violations and not receive fines. There is a general ELD rule for drivers and technical ones for equipment manufacturers. Let’s take a look at their nuances.
What are ELD Standards in the Different States?
ELD Mandate was introduced in three stages and took several years. New equipment’s obligatory usage in different American states also took more than one or several days.
Somewhere, CMV drivers installed the devices almost immediately. Some regions took longer. For example, drivers transport more goods over short distances in states where trucking takes a lesser role.
But in the end, the ELD Mandate and standards affected truck drivers all over the country. However, each state may have additional ELD requirements, restrictions, or exclusions for commercial drivers. Don’t forget that every ELD must contain truck maps, truck navigation, truck GPS, etc. in it.
ELD General Standards
In the modern world of cargo transportation, electronic logging devices (ELD) are mandatory and common. What is the ELD standards concept, and why was this equipment invented?
The implementation of standards was gradual. Before ELD’s final introduction, commercial drivers used paper logs or AOBRDs to record their working hours. It was done to ensure road safety. After all, truck drivers lost their vigilance on the roads or even fell asleep when they worked over the norm. As a result, the number of road accidents increased.
Electronic logging devices (ELD) now make recording working hours much easier and more accurate. After all, the equipment is directly connected to the vehicle engine and automatically records the motor operation. Other ELD rule of usage includes:
- the hardware must be certified and registered with the state service;
- the CMV driver must have paper logs with him as a backup, as well as a user’s manual and instructions on what to do in case the ELD fails;
- the driver must have instructions on transferring data from the device to an electronic log or other devices.
Problems Caused by ELD Standards Implementation
A truck driver is one of the most popular and lucrative professions in America. Therefore, we can say that the introduction of ELD standards affected a considerable part of the population. Significant changes never happen without problems; the same has happened with commercial drivers. Although the ELD Mandate was fully introduced in December 2019 and required all American commercial vehicles to be equipped with this recorder, problems still arise. What are they?
First, the number of equipment manufacturers has increased significantly today. Not all of them are conscientious and manufacture devices for commercial vehicles with all the technical ELD requirements set by the FMCSA. Therefore, truck drivers are still faced with the problem of low-quality equipment that fails or incorrectly records data.
Secondly, drivers must be clear about what ELD standards they must adhere to. It is the mandatory ELD installation of hardware if their transport falls under the appropriate category by law, maintains an electronic logbook, and complies with HOS rules. On the one hand, these ELD requirements were introduced to increase traffic safety; on the other hand, drivers can receive huge fines.
Also, the equipment price may be a problem for someone, although you cannot do without installing it. It is especially true for independent drivers because manufacturers often discount large fleet owners’ number of devices. But owner-operators are deprived of this advantage.
Technical Standards: ELD Specifications for Manufacturers
Besides the general rules for the ELD equipment used, manufacturers also have technical requirements. The hardware should connect to the CMV engine and know how to write ELD standards required data, for example, working and engine hours and truck location. It has to be equipped with GPS for doing this. The device should automatically change the status when a certain speed is set, or vice versa — if the CMV does not move for several seconds.
The ELD must transfer the received data to an electronic logbook (elog) or another device, such as DOT officials. It is also protected from unauthorized hacking. It is worth remembering that false logs are a severe violation of the HOS and ELD rules.
Providers and manufacturers can find all ELD requirements for technical features and functions of equipment on the official website of the FMCSA. Also, there you can find special registers with all certified devices. Thus, you can insure yourself against low-quality equipment. Before buying an ELD, enter its name in the search bar. Also, the FMCSA website lists manufacturing companies that do not meet all technical requirements.
Peculiarities of Truck ELD Standards
Under US transport law, drivers who carry goods and passengers on commercial vehicles must indicate their service status and accurately record periods in hours. If we are talking about truck drivers, then today there are many types of such transport. They vary in weight and size, and not all require ELD installation. Therefore, speaking about trucking, you have to know which categories of trucks fall under the ELD mandate requirements.
- Trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds.
- Trucks with GVW over 10,000 lbs.
- Trucks that carry hazardous materials must have warning signs.
When choosing an electronic logging device for your vehicle, pay attention to the specific ELD standards. Trucking equipment is better if it is developed by specialists directly related to truckers’ work. Because they know the primary needs of drivers and the difficulties associated with equipment that arise during the trips, such manufacturers know the peculiarities of the structure of trucks and how to make equipment that meets the Agency’s requirements and performs its functions with high quality.
ELD Content Standards and Data Transmission
There are special requirements concerning such a function as data transmission. So, at this point, what are ELD standards? According to the technical specifications, hardware can transmit information in two ways. The first one is telematics. Its peculiarity is to send data wirelessly. For this, online services or email can be used. The second way is local. In this case, data is transmitted using USB2.0 and Bluetooth technologies. When requested by officials, the truck driver must always be able to provide data from the device. To do this, he can use a printout, mobile phone, or tablet display.
The provider must preprogram functions such as data transmission via web service or email. In their use, employees give an email address or a unique code for which data is transmitted. And even if the above features, including cable and Bluetooth transmission, do not work, ELD is still compliant as long as the CMV driver can provide a printout.
New ELD Rules and HOS Final Rule
ELD Mandate fully entered into force for CMV drivers at the end of 2019, so there were no significant changes to standards. It is worth remembering, however, that this document does not apply to all commercial drivers. There are a few exceptions. Thus, truckers who travel short distances or use RODS for less than eight days a month should not use ELD. It also includes drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 since there is no technical possibility to install new equipment on such trucks.
The latest changes were adopted in September 2020. HOS rules are integral to ELD standards. They are concerned with exceptions for short-distance drivers and exceptions for adverse driving conditions. The FMCSA also amended the regulations regarding the 30-minute break and provision of a sleeping place.