An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a piece of technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and other aspects of the hours-of-service (HOS) records, to offer easier, more accurate record keeping. The device logs data from the vehicle’s engine, including whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and the duration of engine operation, in place of manually written logs kept by drivers in the past.1 Accurate record keeping will help provide more reliable data, offering further insight for innovation and improvement within the supply chain process. Through more accurate record keeping, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) predicts that compliance with the ELD mandate has the potential to prevent approximately 1,500 crashes, 475 injuries, and 22 deaths each year.2
From December through April acted as a “soft enforcement” period. During this time, law enforcement agencies wrote up ELD violations without “Compliance, Safety and Accountability” (CSA) points distributed, nor vehicles being placed out of service. On Sunday, April 1, 2018, the “soft enforcement” period came to an end, and the ELD mandate became fully implemented. Now, vehicles without the device face CSA points, based on violations which affect the driver’s and carrier’s CSA score, and out-of-service citations.3
With few exceptions, the law mandates any driver previously required to keep a paper record of duty status to have an ELD installed. Below are a few requirements for non-exempt drivers:
- Drivers and carriers must use an authorized ELD approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- The ELD must be able to produce and transfer data electronically from an ELD to an authorized law enforcement officer.
- If an ELD malfunctions, the driver must provide written notice to the carrier within 24 hours and maintain paper logs over the course of eight days, which is the maximum amount of time an ELD can be out of service. The ELD must be repaired or replaced within this time period.
- Drivers and carriers can edit their ELD record, but cannot shorten drive times. The driver must re-certify data if edits are made.4
ELD Data Within the Supply Chain
Data automation within ELDs will help ensure the accuracy of driver logs; the more reliable this data is, the easier it is to gain relevant insight into the supply chain process. Real-time engine diagnostic data can help shippers predict when issues, such as a dead battery or deteriorated piston ring, might arise to get ahead of any potential maintenance problems and reduce risk of delays. With this proactive approach using ELD data, vehicle downtime can be decreased – resulting in cost savings and improved safety. Further, a truck’s exact location can be pinpointed, which not only aids in updating shipment arrival times for customers, but helps gauge and identify more efficient routes.5
Although it’s too early to know the full value of all data aggregated from the ELD mandate, this future data could continue to improve safety, enhance supply chain solutions, and ultimately lead to greater efficiency and innovation. As the enforcement of the mandate becomes more rigorous, it’s important that shippers, carriers, and drivers use ELD best practices to ensure that they are collecting the appropriate data to evolve and contribute to improve overall safety.