The ELD Cheat Sheet For Beginners

02/05/2019
A truck that is using an electronic logging device

Now that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instated compliance with the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, all drivers must use this kind of device. ELDs have replaced paper logs for tracking hours of service for commercial vehicle operators in the U.S. If you are just getting started with setting up an hours of service tracking system in your trucks, you are in luck. At this point, all of the kinks with implementing the regulation have been worked out, and you can learn from other fleet managers’ mistakes for a smoother transition.

Finding an Electronic Logging Device

As you shop for the best device for your fleet, begin with the FMCSA. The FMCSA maintains an ongoing list of registered ELDs that are self-certified. Keep in mind, this does not mean the FMCSA approves all of the ELDs listed. However, it is the best place to start. You can also view revoked ELDs to make sure your preference is not on that list. There are dozens of devices that are self-certified.

Tips for choosing a device include:

  • Look at the company that sells the device (e.g., Verizon Connect, Navistar, Rand McNally, etc.) to see if you already have trucking tech or devices through them. This can help you narrow options by choosing a company with which you are familiar or can bundle your services for cost savings.
  • Contact the company using the email listed for each device on the FMCSA Registered ELDS list if you have questions, want a brochure or are ready to get a quote for ELDs.

When you choose an ELD for your fleet, the next step is using the device to maintain compliance by using the device correctly.

Start With the User Manual

First and foremost, when using an ELD for beginners, keep the user manual that comes with the device. The FMCSA requires truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators to have the user manual for their device in their truck, while in operation, at all times. Next, read the manual completely to fully understand your unique device.

These devices have their own software and systems, just like other mobile devices. Even if you have used another type of truck tracking system in the past — including automatic onboarding recording devices — you will need to know how to use this particular operating system. By the way, if you are using an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), this was grandfathered in for a compliance deadline of Dec. 16, 2019. In addition, you need to keep an instruction sheet for safety officials who may be transferring or dealing with malfunctions using your truck tracking system.

Keeping Up With Hours of Service

The primary reason for ELDs is to record hours of service and truck tracking data that corresponds with these records. The ELDs then go a step further by transmitting this information directly to the Department of Transportation for the FMCSA.

Understand how your device handles hours of service records, and know how to make corrections or edits. Then, utilize the device as required according to your hours of service (i.e., on-duty and off-duty statuses) correctly so your fleet remains in DOT compliance.

Managing Malfunctions and Mistakes

Speaking of malfunctions and mistakes, a final tip for using an ELD for beginners is to have paper logs on hand. In fact, the FMCSA requires commercial drivers to have enough paper logs to cover eight days in case the ELD crashes or breaks down.

As a fleet manager, choose the best fleet management system by Track Your Truck to minimize those malfunctions and mistakes.