Concern about the upcoming ELD mandate has continued to grow over the last few months. Questions about what is going to happen have only increased since the FMCSA pushed back the mandate publishing date from September 30th to late October.
To help keep the industry informed on what they can expect when ELDs become required, BigRoad hosted a webinar on October 1st. We had such a great turnout that we couldn’t get to all of the questions that were asked so we have created this post to answer all of the questions.
If you missed the webinar, you can view a recording of it along with the question and answer period.
When is the ELD mandate coming?
We are expecting the mandate to come at the end of October 2015. This is about a month delay from the prior Sept. 30th publishing date.
How long after the mandate do we have to comply?
Once the mandate has been published, there will be a two-year window for companies to be ELD compliant. So if the mandate is published October 2015, companies will have until October 2017 to be running ELDs. The one exception to this is for companies that are running an AOBRD at the time the mandate is published. In this situation, companies will be able to continue running AOBRD compliant devices until October 2019.
How long will we have to properly train our drivers to use these vs. paper logs once the eLogging devices are turned on?
Once the mandate has been published there will be a two-year window for fleets to comply. We strongly recommend that fleets begin using ELDs as early as possible to give their drivers time to train.
It’s going to be a law? ELD required by law in all sates?
Yes, while we can’t be certain when the FMCSA will actually publish the mandate, we are expecting this to happen at the end of October 2015.
Who Will Have to Use ELDs
We received a lot of questions about who will be required to use ELDs. I will try to answer these to the best of our knowledge but the best rule of thumb for whether or not you will have to use an ELD is: If you are currently required to maintain a record of duty status log, you will have to use an ELD.
Because we are mostly a local area company that only does random OTR runs will we be required to comply with all of our units?
No. Current local area logging exemptions will continue to apply. So if you fall under the current 100 air mile radius exemption (150 miles in some jurisdictions), you will still fall under that exemption. This exemption is good so long as you do not do longer runs more than 8 days out of every 30. For these days, you will be allowed to continue using paper logs.
Will this also affect school bus drivers using ELDs?
For the majority of school bus drivers, you will likely fall under the local area exemption, so you won’t have to use an ELD. If you are using your school bus to transport passengers further than the 100 air mile radius then you will need to use an ELD.
Will single truck operators be required to use ELDs?
Yes, there is no exemption for drivers regardless of fleet size.
What does one do if they have older equipment that doesn’t have the plug connection?
Unfortunately, the proposed mandate does not have any exemptions for older equipment. This likely means that drivers with older trucks are going to have to retrofit the truck somehow to allow the truck to pass the information that will be required by the ELD mandate.
We use CDL-Hazmat drivers in case of a hazardous delivery. However none of our vehicles require a CDL to drive. Are we still required to log our drivers hours?
According to rule 390.3, all vehicles moving hazardous materials are classified as Commercial Motor Vehicles whether or not they would otherwise qualify as CMVs and therefore will require ELDs.
We run a fleet of 1 ton and 3/4 trucks, will ELD affect us?
Provided your combined vehicle and trailer weight rating is less than 10,000 pounds, you will not be required to use ELDs.
We are a Canadian company that drives into the United States once every 1-2 months. How does this affect Canadian companies specifically? What rules will Canada implement?
From what we have heard, the Canadian government will likely implement ELD regulations soon after the US does. We don’t know exactly what the rules for Canadian drivers coming into the US are. They will most likely need to comply with ELD rules, even if they only go into the US irregularly.
How would this affect a small company of one and how does this affect if you are leased into another company?
Even single drivers will have to run an ELD. If you are being leased to another company, you will still have to run an ELD but you will need to discuss with the company whether you will run your own and submit your logs to them or run the system they want.
Does this mandate affect bus driver and bus companies?
Yes, if you currently have to maintain driver logs you will have to use an ELD.
Are the regulations the same for coach drivers?
There is some variation in the exact rules for motor coach operators compared to property carrying drivers, however, both will be required to use ELDs.
How is this going to effect the drive away industry?
Drive away operations will be required to comply with the mandate. Using a portable system such as BigRoad’s DashLink will allow you to use the same device in multiple trucks.
What do you mean with ‘local run’?
Local run refers to what are known as short-haul operations. These drivers are exempt provided they don’t drive outside of a 100 air-mile radius of their home terminal. There are several other factors involved in whether someone qualifies as a short-haul operation which can be found in the 395.1 regulations.
Will commercial trucks under 10,000 GVW (3/4 & 1 ton) have to comply with ELD?
Vehicles under 10,000 pounds GVW will not have to use ELDs. There may be exemptions to that including vehicles transporting hazardous materials.
Will they require that the ELD be connected to the ECM?
Yes, the ELD will be required to connect to the ECM.
Will the Big Road phone app be enough or will DashLink also be necessary?
No, the proposed mandate specifies an engine connection is required. In order to be compliant, you will have to use DashLink with BigRoad.
Will Big Road’s current eLogs be printer-friendly at enforcement locations? (i.e. wireless printers at weigh stations or in police cruisers)
BigRoad’s current electronic logbook is compatible with wireless printing. It also offers the option to email and fax logs. However, with engine-connected logs, drivers do not need to print the log.
Will paper logs remain legal?
No, in most situations paper logs will not be enough to be in compliance with logging regulations.
Is there an exception for personal conveyance?
Personal conveyance rules will remain the same as pre-mandate. How this will be implemented will vary based on the ELD platform.
For BigRoad, we suggest this method: add a note to the ‘off duty’ status change that indicates personal conveyance is being used and include the current odometer value. Choose the switch truck option and select “unknown or no truck”.
At this point, the vehicle can be driven for personal conveyance. When returning to ‘on duty’ status, indicate in the status change that personal conveyance is complete and record the current odometer value. Finally, select the correct truck and proceed as usual.
What is required from companies if and when a driver has run out of hours?
When a driver is out of hours, they will have to stop driving or risk a violation and being put out of service.
We already use BigRoad with Dashlink. Will this current solution be compliant with the ELD mandate, or will it be considered a grandfathered solution?
Yes, BigRoad with DashLink currently qualifies as an AOBRD. Following the ELD mandate, we will be updating the app to account for any changes that the mandate requires. So DashLink will both qualify to be grandfathered in as an AOBRD and will quickly be updated to qualify as a fully-fledged ELD.
Using BigRoad, do I have to have the ability to print the log to be valid?
Yes, if you are using BigRoad without an engine connection, you will be required to have the ability to print. BigRoad has the ability to wirelessly print your logs so we recommend drivers keep a portable printer in their cab to maintain compliance.
With ELD tied to the truck, some systems allow up to 1 1/2 miles before logging driving, assuming yours does not, what about when sitting in staging area, then called in to dock, shouldn’t that be on-duty, not driving?
We refer to this as the yard move feature. The FMCSA does not officially allow for any special handling of yard moves by an automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) like DashLink. You can enable this for your fleet from the BigRoad web app but you must be sure your drivers are maintaining compliance.
Why are our existing BigRoad logs not meeting the rules of this mandate?
If you are just using BigRoad’s electronic logbook (without an engine-connection), it won’t be compliant with the mandate because it requires an engine connection. If you are using DashLink with BigRoad, then you are all set as it will be connected to your engine.
Is BigRoad available for bus HOS rules?
Yes, BigRoad does support HOS rules for passenger-carrying CMVs.
Is the 34 hour rule suspended and since when?
The rule requiring the driver restart to include two periods between 1:00 am and 5:00 am and only allow a restart once a week has been suspended as of December 16, 2014. Drivers can now restart their cycle by taking 34 consecutive hours off-duty with no additional limitations.
Technological and Use Questions
Who can see what information and when? Also, what information will be kept and for how long?
Fleet admins can view information such as driver and truck location, driver logs, state mileage reports and driver hours. How long this is kept available can be adjusted based on a fleet’s needs.
Will we be able to set our own parameters?
Depending on the ELD used, you will be able to set certain properties. However, the ELD will be required to confirm to all of the FMCSAs mandated requirements, which will likely limit customization options.
Who has the control of the kill switch?
There is no kill switch. Administrators do not have the ability to remotely shut down or alter vehicle function using DashLink with BigRoad.
Can our drivers use their laptop, smartphone, and tablet to manage their logs?
Yes, logs can be created on many electronic devices. Currently, BigRoad is available for Android and iOS devices.
We have nine employees and three owner/operators. Are the logs for individual trucks or for drivers? I have more trucks than drivers available.
Logs are always created for individual drivers. Since DashLink units can be moved between vehicles, you can have fewer units than your truck total if not all trucks are being driven at once.
Are ELD logs submitted to FMSCA automatically or are they requested by FMSCA first?
ELD logs are not submitted to the FMCSA automatically. The process for audits will be similar to how it is currently but with logs archived digitally.
Does the device have to be connected to the odometer and/or GPS?
Yes, in order to be compliant with an ELD, the device will require GPS access and the ability to count mileage.
How many different versions of BigRoad are you “rolling out’ in order to meet the new ELD mandate?
BigRoad will only have one ELD-compatible solution, which will be available on Android and iOS devices.
What if a driver forgets to log off duty?
Drivers will still be able to make edits to the non-driving sections of their logs. So if they forget to log off duty one day, they can edit their log to the correct off duty time. An original copy of the log, without the change, will be retained for audit purposes.
What happens when a device malfunctions?
If a device malfunctions, a driver can switch to paper logs until they’ve had time to fix the problem. However, if a driver seems to be regularly claiming to have a broken device, auditors and inspectors will probably view them as suspicious and that the driver is trying to cheat.
How long does it take to install a typical system?
BigRoad’s DashLink system takes only a couple minutes to install. Plug the unit into the ECM port, secure the device, and connect to the device through the BigRoad app.
Will logs be transmitted to the company or will drivers need to download and print?
Using BigRoad, all logs are transferred to the fleet.
If we already have GPS units in vehicles, will there be a conflict of applications?
If your GPS and ELD are on different devices, there shouldn’t be any conflict between the devices.
Do the ELDs track mileage?
Yes, ELDs will keep track of mileage based on the vehicle odometer as well as GPS data.
Does the system hook up to one-ton hotshot trucks?
Yes, DashLink can be connected to one-ton trucks with an OBD2 connection.
Does BigRoad automatically switch rule sets when crossing the border between US and Canada?
Currently, BigRoad does not automatically change rule sets when crossing the border. This is a feature we are looking to implement in an upcoming release.
How is the location information captured?
Location information is captured using GPS data.
How reliable is BigRoad in remote locations? We had a device previously that would drop its signal in remote places.
If a device does not have access to cell networks, it may limit the speed at which the office is updated with information. The app will continue to work and will send the data back to the company once a data connection has been re-established.
Will BigRoad be looking into offering equipment to connect to older trucks, (i.e. mentioned in webinar, “axle counter”, or any other types of equipment to meet new ELD mandate?
Currently, BigRoad is not creating any equipment to retrofit older trucks.
Does the GPS function keep records to use for IFTA?
Yes, the GPS and odometer is used to track the miles driven per jurisdiction.
Would the plug-in device recognize the different trucks it plugs into?
Yes, BigRoad’s DashLink will detect truck type based on information from the vehicle’s ECM.
What if you have drivers sharing the same truck or fleet of trucks?
That is fine, each individual driver connects their own device logged into their account to a DashLink unit in the truck. You can use the same DashLink for multiple drivers, you can even use the same phone or tablet for multiple drivers by having drivers sign in and out of their account.
What will it cost? Not monthly, but daily?
Our costs are $15/month/driver plus an additional $10/month/DashLink device, so in most situations this is $25/month/driver. Broken down by day, you will be paying approximately $0.80 a day to run DashLink.
What about the cost of what’s needed for the home office to access all the logs? Do we need a special device? Online software?
Logs are accessed in the office using the BigRoad web app. This is a internet browser-based program that requires no additional software or devices (other than your own) and has no additional costs. You can view how the office app works by starting a free trial here: https://app.bigroad.com/sign-up
Is this way of keeping logs for our company going to be a safe way of doing it? Or will have to mortgage all of our valuables to purchase just one (1) of these devices?
While costs will vary depending on what ELD you use, BigRoad’s ELD solution, DashLink, is very affordable and no upfront costs.
The company I work for can’t survive because they have no staff if they use BigRoad they will need more staff?
Actually using BigRoad won’t require any additional dedicated staff. If anything, it should actually free up some time by automatically archiving all of the driver logs. BigRoad is easy to integrate into your company’s current work process.
What is the typical amount of increase in rates that the industry is looking to charge their customers?
We are not sure what, if any, rate changes will come as a result of the implementing of ELDs.
What has been done to make it safer by eliminating the 14-hour rule because the way it is, the ELD mandate will cause more accidents due to everyone trying to beat the clock?
The ELD mandate won’t change hours of service rules. The 14-hour rule will remain the same as it has been so drivers won’t have less time to fit driving into, unless they have been falsifying logs.
What has been done with shippers to make them tow the line more by having things ready for the drivers so they don’t waste the “time” waiting on them?
Unfortunately not much has been done to make sure shippers aren’t wasting drivers time. One way in which ELDs can help is by creating a documented record of where and when drivers were in detention time and giving companies the evidence they need to justify charging detention time.
How will this ELD mandate benefit the driver that strives on customer service? The time I could be improving relations now will be restricted because of an unstoppable clock?
ELD can open up some new options for companies that want to provide great customer service to their customers. One option to explore is the ability to provide customers with real-time data on their load location as well as approximate delivery time.
How will this affect driving schools?
Driving schools will have to begin including instructions on how to use ELDs as part of their curriculum. Ideally, this will include several different types of ELDs to give new drivers a wide range of experience with devices they may encounter.
How many “right” ELD systems are there?
I may be a little biased but I’m going to say DashLink from BigRoad is the right system. That said, we encourage everyone to look around to make sure they are using a system that best suits their needs.
The webinar had a great turn out with so many questions, that we couldn’t get to them all. If you have additional questions about the webinar, contact us at [email protected]. For those who missed the webinar, a recording is available below.