The days of paper logs and fudging hours of service are long gone. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMSCA) placed a mandate on electronic logging devices a few years ago. Since then, truckers and trucking companies have been working to equip their vehicles with electronic logging devices (ELDs).
Currently, the FMSCA requires all commercial trucks to have either automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) or compliant ELD systems. Both of these systems use automation to record a trucker’s driving hours. However, a new deadline is fast approaching. Starting in December this year, all trucks must replace AOBRDs with compliant ELDs. This last deadline is an effort to make sure every truck has the proper logging equipment. As the deadline approaches, the penalties become more severe. Are the truckers you insure in ELD compliance?
Compliance with FMSCA standards
The ELDs that truckers soon must use are different from the older AOBRDs systems in many ways. The most important difference is the way in which ELDs transmit their data. ELDs should use either a combination of the internet and email or a combination of Bluetooth and a USB/flash drive. A device that does not use these methods would not be in compliance.
Another new rule is that ELDs must be able to print out a graph of driver activity in case the internet or Bluetooth is down. Also, drivers should have a limited ability to manually enter activity into ELDs. Automated entries are the standard for ELDs.
There are several other technical specifications for the ELDs that you can find on the FMSCA website.
Penalties for noncompliance
In the early days of the ELD mandate, drivers found to be non-compliant would receive citations and fines. But since April 2018, the punishments have started to be harsher. Truckers and trucking companies found to be without ELD or AOBRD systems run the risk of getting “no record of duty status.” That status can get truckers an “out-of-service order,” which prohibits them to drive commercially. That would lead to lost profits and a stain on the trucking company’s record.
If a company violates the ELD mandate consistently, the federal government may investigate.
Benefits of compliance for insurance companies
When drivers use the required ELDs, they are less able to input inaccurate driving data. ELDs hold drivers accountable for the hours they drive, so drivers are less likely to spend too much time behind the wheel. For insurance companies, this means less accidents and driver errors. The FMSCA sets restrictions on driving time in order to prevent the incidents that turn into claims for your company. ELDs make your job easier because they force drivers to comply with those restrictions.
Make sure the truckers and trucking companies you insure have installed ELDs by December 17 so you can prevent some of those claims and do your part to comply with the law.