How to Pass your ELD Roadside Inspection with Flying Colours
Have your drivers faced an ELD roadside inspection yet? The latest ELD mandate was passed in order to provide a safer work environment for drivers. It aims to make it easier to track and manage record of duty status (RODS) data. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced the ELD mandate in December 2017, and full enforcement began April 1, 2018.
Truck drivers are now subject to the FMCSA’s rule of Hours of Service (HOS). They must have either an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) or an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) installed in their fleet. While it might seem like a nuisance to some business owners, ELD has its own perks. Plus, it has the support of many renowned industry advocates like the American Trucking Association.
Implementing ELDs in your fleet will help to reduce the time spent on paperwork. It also enhances the safety of your drivers, and helps to make Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections quicker. Though ELDs increase initial fleet preparation time, they’re a far more accurate way of tracking your drivers’ service hours.
However, it’s not just about installing an ELD and calling it a day. Your drivers need to be trained on how to provide HOS data during an inspection. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your drivers have the correct equipment, knowledge, and documentation to navigate through any inspection without delay. The more prepared your drivers are, the less time they’ll spend at ELD roadside inspections.
ELD Compliance Requirements
For ELDs to be compliant, they must connect to a vehicles’ engine to automatically monitor operation and power status. An ELD should be able to record location data, present a graph grid, and warn drivers of unidentified driver profiles. It must also synchronize with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and automatically calculate driving time. Finally, it must be able to transfer data via wireless web services and email or via Bluetooth and USB 2.0.
Along with installed ELDs, the FMCSA requires that each vehicle have a printed ELD information package. This package must include all information required by the driver to use the device and produce RODS during an inspection. Help your your drivers pass their next ELD roadside inspection by training them in the following areas:
STEP 1: Being Comfortable Transfering ELD RODS Data
It’s important that you provide your drivers with thorough training on exchanging HOS information via local and telematic methods. An AOBRD only displays data, but ELDs have four ways to transfer data: Bluetooth, email, USB, and FMCSA web services. Try arranging regular inspection drills for your drivers. It should help them to get the hang of the ELD application and easily navigate the whole process.
Here’s how to transfer data during an ELD roadside inspection using GFI Systems’ ELD platform:
- Enter the “Roadside Inspection” section of your ELD app.
- Tap the “Data transfer” option and a number of data transfer options will appear on the screen.
- Use the “Select vehicle” option to pick your vehicle (you may only have one option).
- Choose a data transfer method. A popup will prompt you to enter an output file comment.
If you choose the Bluetooth transfer method, your inspection officer must turn on their Bluetooth for the transfer. For the USB option, insert a USB stick into your device to allow the data to transfer. In order to email the file, both you and your inspector will require a stable Wifi connection.
STEP 2: Knowing How to Print/Display the ELD RODS Data
If transferring the data isn’t working or progressing too slowly, the driver must be able to print the required data or operate their ELD app in ‘inspection mode’ to show the hours of the present day and the previous week. To avoid infringement, the officer must be able to review the screen’s data without having to enter your vehicle.
STEP 3: Identifying and Resolving Basic Issues or Malfunctions
Mishaps and hurdles are a part of day-to-day life and technology is no different. It’s vital that your drivers understand the basics of ELD and are able to identify and resolve minor malfunctions or data inconsistencies during an ELD roadside inspection.
According to the FMCSA, an ELD user manual, instructions for data transfer, instructions for ELD malfunction reporting, and 8 days of blank paper logs must always be readily available to your drivers. A driver must be able to show any or all of these materials to an inspection officer when asked. If you have recently upgraded from an AOBRD to an ELD, then make sure that the documentation your drivers have is for ELD.
STEP 4: Understanding ELD-related Violations and Penalties
Noncompliance with the ELD mandate can lead to hefty fines ($1,000 to $11,000). It may also result in the temporary/permanent shutdown of non-compliant operators. Your drivers should understand the ELD-related infringements that can receive severe penalties such as Out-of-Service Orders.
Learning about these infringements should be an integral part of your ELD training. It will help to educate your drivers on their duties under the latest ELD mandate. A few examples of non-compliance include utilizing an ELD which isn’t in the registry or isn’t compliant, or not utilizing an ELD or AOBRD when needed. If your device is noncompliant, your inspection officer will report it to the FMCSA for decertification. Other examples of infringements include creating false logs or failing to replace a malfunctioning/broken ELD within 8 days.
Preparing Your Drivers for Their Next ELD Roadside Inspection
You must educate your drivers well for them to be able to lead your fleet through any ELD roadside inspection. Drivers must be calm and patient in order to deal with any situations or mishaps that may arise. Instead of getting into an argument with inspection officers, you want to prepare your drivers to problem-solve under pressure so they can get back on the road.