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Are You Ready for ELD? – Webinar Recap

With September almost upon us, our recent webinar to took another look at the impending ELD mandate. During this session, we looked at what you should expect out of an ELD and the best ways you can prepare for when they become mandatory.

If you missed out on this event you can watch the recording of the event below: 

We’d like to thank everyone who attended and we really appreciate all the great questions you sent us. During these webinars, we do our best to get all of your questions answered but time constraints mean we usually miss a few.

Your Questions Answered:

We love receiving your questions but when it comes to ELD there is one question we get asked more than any other.

Q. Who will need an ELD?
A. This question is sent often sent to us in many forms that are usually specific the individuals circumstances. The simple answer is if you have to do paper logs today then yes you will have to have an ELD. If you are already exempt from doing paper logs like with a short haul exemption you will not need an ELD. If you only occasionally do long hauls, no more than 8 days out of every 30, you can still be exempted from ELD under short haul exemption. The industry you are in does not have an effect weather you need and ELD or not. It’s based on how far you drive and what kind of vehicle you drive. There are no rule changes to hours of service the only difference is the way in which they are recorded. To learn more about hours of service and to find out of you need to be keeping a logbook please read our primer on hours of service.

Here are the rest of the questions from the webinar:

Q. We have a number of drivers using the BigRoad application on smartphones and tablets, but only one driver is using DashLink. Will the others still be accepted as ELDs?
A. No. The ELD specification states that the device must have a connection to the vehicle’s engine. This is not possible with just the BigRoad electronic logbook app alone. The one driver with the DashLink device would be the only one with an ELD.

Q. Is there any danger going with a propriety system over one that works on mobile? 
A. What you want to be aware of if you go with a vendor’s propriety hardware is you are limited to what you can do with the device, they tend to cost a lot more. Using an off the shelf solution like a smartphone or tablet the price is usually next to nothing from a carrier when you get a data plan and you are not limited to what you can load on it.

Q. How will this affect Canadian operators? What if we only enter the States occasionally?
A. No decision has been made in Canada regarding ELDs. Transport Canada does support the use of ELDS and our best guess is that they will closely follow what happens in the states. If you do any long-haul operations into the United States you are going to have to have an ELD.

Q. Can BigRoad be installed on an iPad?
A. Yes. Download the BigRoad electronic logbook for iOS devices. At this time, the iOS version does not support DashLink so cannot be used as an ELD. However, this product will be available soon. Please call customer support team for more information 1-888-305-8777.

Q. Does it look like the FMCSA will require AOBRD’s, disallowing the ELD’s (non-AOBRD)?A. AOBRD’s are the only engine connected logs recognized by the FMCSA. These must comply with FMCSA regulations §395.15 to be called an AOBRD. You can consider Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) as the next generation of AOBRD. Unlike AOBRD, the new ELD is going to be mandatory for anyone is required to keep logs. The final ruling on ELD is set to be published September 2015. The mandatory compliance date for using an ELD is set for September 2017. However, if you are currently using a certified AOBRD you will not need a to comply with ELD until 2019. Using BigRoad with the DashLink device give you a fully compliant AOBRD that is ELD-ready. This means once the final rulings on ELD have been published we will be able to make any necessary changes that might be required.

Q. Does your BigRoad device qualify as an approved device?
A. The BigRoad app is an electronic logbook app that keeps an electronic version of the driver’s record of duty status as required by FMCSA regulations § 395.8 and § 390.31. The BigRoad app used in conjunction with a DashLink connection complies with all requirements for automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD) in the FMCSA’s regulations §395.15.

Q. In pit dumping for 20 minutes, a truck is stop and go. We scale in, drive yards to dump then back to scale to scale out. Will it show on duty or drive/on-duty/drive/on-duty. How does this register? How movement on a customer lot is recorded?
A. There is some mention in the rules for yard moves and special exemptions for moving about yards. However, they do not go into any details of how they might work so until the final rule is published we won’t know for sure. Currently, although there are no official rules regarding yard moves most AOBRD vendors, including BigRoad, do allow for yard moves. This is where you can suspend driving for a short time while moving around the yard.

Q. How is personal transportation is recorded?
A. When using a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal transportation the ELD will have a way you can show personal conveyance separate from normal drive time. This would be shown as a separate line on of your logs and does not count towards your drive time of the day. Read more about personal conveyance.

Q. Right now we log in 15-minute increments so if leaving a yard at 7:05 will put 7:00. It is much easier to keep track this way. Will the ELD do by the minute? Or is there a way to still adjust to the 15-minute increments?
A. Lots of driver’s find 15-minute increments easier. This is left over from how things used to be done on paper. With the BigRoad app, you can keep it to the minute or you can edit in 15-minute increments. When you switch over to electronic logging the device tracks the time for you and 15-minutes increments become a moot point. With ELD, it will be to the minute.

Q. What’s the average cost for the implementation on a small fleet of 10 trucks?
A. To use BigRoad with your fleet, it costs $15/month/user. If you want your trucks ELD-ready we charge $10/month/DashLink device. We will also likely need a few extra accounts for dispatch and admin so you could be looking at around $265 – $300 per month. You can find a breakdown of BigRoad pricing here.

Q. If you have a hand-held device running the BigRoad app will this be acceptable as an ELD?
A. No. The BigRoad app on its own works as an electronic logbook and is a great replacement for paper logs. However when the BigRoad app is connected to a DashLink device this creates a connection with the engine so it can used as an ELD.

Q. In case of audit how do we get a copy of the record of prior months logs?
A. With BigRoad all your logs are synchronized with our servers. As long as you have an account you can log into and device or the BigRoad web app to see your logs. Your logs are all online and ready for you anytime. Even if you are a driver using the free app you can sign up for a free 30-day trial and even after the trial has expired you still have access to all the logs you created. You can sign-up and see your logs here.

Q. One of our big concerns is with the construction industry and the movement of heavy equipment delays cannot be predicted. With a permit load, they are not allowed to deviate from the given route. What happens if the driver is 30 minutes from the home terminal and is out of available hours for that day?
A. While there is nothing in the ELD mandate about oversize loads, auditors certainly have a tolerance for occasional problems with hours of service. There are already provisions in the current hours of service regulations for inclement weather and adverse driving conditions. As long as this isn’t a regular situation and there is no pattern of regularly going over hours of service it shouldn’t be a problem. The problems will occur if this is route is planned the same every time and it’s the same delays every time this is going to raise red flags with an auditor.

Q. Are ELD logs editable and will they show that they have been edited?
A. The new ELD regulations will allow for editing everything but the drive time. You will be able to add drive time, but you cannot remove drive time. Anything else can be edited, but you need to add an annotation and explain why it was edited. The big change here from the current regulations is that now it’s the driver rather than the supervisor that has to approve edits. So if a supervisor wanted to make a change to a driver’s log it would be entered as a suggestion and the driver would be prompted to accept.

Q. What will be required if you lose the DashLink connection or have a faulty ELD?
A. You are required to carry paper logs as a back up to your ELD. If for some reason your ELD fails then the unit has to be able to indicate that there is a malfunction and you must switch to paper logs. You also must make your best effort to have your ELD repaired in a certain time period.

Q. Who has the control of the kill switch?
A. In the case of BigRoad, there is no such thing as a kill switch. There is no way anyone can remotely turn off your engine through our engine connection device.

Q. Who sees what information, and when?
A. They type of information the BigRoad DashLink unit collects is things like odometer reading, engine running time and time the wheels are turning. These are the basic things the ELD needs to record your log. We also collect different information about how the engine is running. This information is not shared with the user at the moment as we are working on new features that make use of the data. In terms of who has access to your data, it’s basically available to anyone in your fleet who is a supervisor or administrator in your fleet to view this data. The ELD spec also requires you to share information with law enforcement and this has to be logged and transmitted to them automatically.

Q. Will BigRoad with the DashLink device in my truck be compliant when the regulations take effect? Will there be an updated application or will the hardware have to change?
A. Yes, BigRoad will be fully compliant when the regulations take effect. We are constantly updating the app so any updates we make will be seamless. It also very unlikely that the DashLink device hardware will need to be replaced but if it does you will be shipped a new one.

Q. If you are connected to DashLink, do you still need to have a printer?
A. There is no need for a printer when you have engine connected logs.

Q. Our drivers change vehicles regularly during the day. They could drive a three-passenger sedan (that does not have an ELD) then drive a 38 passenger mini coach that does have an ELD. These vehicle changes could occur three or four times per day. Does your system allow for this?
A. Absolutely. With our app, you can easily take your smartphone or tablet between a mix of vehicles that are enabled for ELD with DashLink and those that aren’t.

Q. I like BigRoad a lot, but we have one truck with many infrequent drivers. Is there an option to purchase the hardware outright?
A. If you contact our sales team they can sell you one. However if you ever need a replacement you will need to buy a new one and if you need to send out updated hardware then you will miss out on that also.

Q. How are BigRoad software upgrades deployed to devices? Is it using GooglePlay? Is it automatic without user intervention with no app downtime?
A. Update to the app come from the Google Play store. There is no downtime during an update. For the best performance make sure the device is configured for automatic updates.

Q. What type of connection does the DashLink device use to communicate with the mobile device?
A. The DashLink device is plugged into your vehicle’s ECM and it then communicates with your smartphone or tablet using a Bluetooth connection.

Q. Does the BigRoad electronic log qualify as an existing AOBRD that would allow you to extend the mandatory ELD compliance date to Sept. 2019 vs. 2017?
A. As long as it’s used in conjunction with the DashLink device is fully §395.15 compliant AOBRD.

Q. How long will the logs be available on the server?
A. By default, your logs are saved on our servers indefinitely.You can set how long they are available using the data retention setting in the web app and specifying the period of time you need to retain them for.

Q. Please address driver harassment. How does BigRoad meets these ELD rules?
A. ELDs bring a whole new level of transparency between the drive and dispatch. BigRoad will meet all of the requirements required of the ELD rules when they are published. Please, not though there is only so much technology can do help prevent driver harassment and there is nothing you can do about “behind the scenes” harassment. The beauty of ELD logs is the paper trail it leaves behind and with every edit documented it is easy for an auditor to spot any potentially shady patterns. The other side on harassment is in-cab harassment as our technology runs on smartphones it’s already easy to turn off notifications and sign-off at night.

Q.Can the DOT access this information without our permission?
A. We will only have to supply data to the DOT upon request. They cannot pull your information without you approving their request. Of course, you will have to comply with these requests but you will always they occur.

Want to learn more about the ELD mandate?
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