Even after FMCSA mandated the electronic logging devices for CLD truck drivers, common ELD mistakes still happen.
Some truck drivers and fleet owners continue to make errors.
The problem is that there is no way around it. They'll still have to learn to use ELDs correctly because the ELD violations contradicts with FMCSA's goal to accurately track and manage the hours of service compliance.
Further down the road, these violation leads to other bigger problems such as higher CSA scores, out of service orders, civil penalties, and DOT audits.
Also, these issues may cost carriers lots of money.
Below, find a list of common ELD-related mistakes and issues and steps to avoid them.
1. Failure to install the ELD properly
This common ELD mistake encompasses a range of issues, from incorrectly setting up the ELD hardware to neglecting the nuances of ELD software.
Improper hardware installation, such as flawed wiring or ill-placed devices within the commercial motor vehicle (CMV), can lead to malfunctioning ELDs jeopardizing the accurate recording of crucial data.
2. Failure to use the ELD properly by the truck driver
Some drivers neglect to use ELDs as required.
Unassigned drive time, refers to situations where an ELD captures vehicle motion with no authenticated driver logged into the system.
This results in result in erroneous calculations of driving hours, off-duty periods, and other vital Hours of Service (HOS) data.
Some other issues are:
- Logging In and Out:
Drivers are required to log in and out of the ELD system correctly to record their duty status accurately. Neglecting to do so can lead to incomplete or inaccurate records.
That said, in situations where no authenticated driver has claimed the unassigned drive time as his/her own, carriers should periodically review and reconcile that time. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for potential log falsification violations and civil penalties in the context of an audit.
- Switching Duty Status:
Drivers must change their duty status (e.g., from driving to on-duty not driving, or off-duty) accurately and promptly as their activities change. Failing to do so can result in violations.
- Annotation and Remarks:
ELDs often provide the capability to add annotations or remarks to explain specific events or deviations from regular HOS rules. Neglecting to use these features can lead to misunderstandings during audits.
if there's an annotation in there, it just makes life a lot easier and it's a lot easier to explain to everyone
Train your drivers to use annotations and remarks on ELDs.
3. Lack of driver training
Lack of training encourages drivers to use their devices inaccurately and causes delays during inspections.
Drivers and carrier staff must receive proper training on ELD installation, operation, and compliance.
A lack of training can result in confusion and mistakes.
4. Failure to monitor driver's HOS
Carriers are responsible for monitoring their drivers' compliance with ELD regulations. This includes checking for proper ELD use, reviewing logs, and addressing any potential issues promptly.
5. Auditing and correcting
Carriers should conduct regular audits of ELD records to identify and correct errors or discrepancies. Failure to do so can result in repeated violations.
6. Technical issues
ELDs can experience technical problems, such as connectivity issues, software glitches, or hardware malfunctions. Regular maintenance and updates are essential to prevent these issues.
Fleet operations and drivers need to know how to use the devices even in case where an ELD malfunctions.
“The driver must report it, and the carrier has to create a case number for a reference.
That way, if the driver is stopped a second time, he or she will have a reference to support the time when the device stopped working. Otherwise, it’s your word against the officer’s.
7. Incorrect Personal Use of the CMV
Drivers sometimes forget to switch to personal use status when using the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal activities, which can affect HOS calculations.
8. Failing to update ELD records
Drivers are required to verify and update their ELD records, especially if there are discrepancies or missing data. Failing to do so can lead to violations.
9. No in-cab ELD documentation
According to 49 CFR 395.22(h), CMV drivers who are subject to the ELD rule must have the following documentation with them in their vehicles:
- A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
- An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official;
- An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
- A supply of blank paper driver logs sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.
Of the 1,149,899 driver-related roadside inspections conducted year-to-date, 23,412 resulted in a violation of one or more of these requirements. Luckily, this is another easy one for carriers and drivers to fix by simply ensuring that the required documents are in the cab. With respect to the user manual and instruction sheets, these can even be kept electronically on the ELD itself or the driver's mobile device, but the key is that the driver needs to know how to readily access them and show them to law enforcement upon demand.