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Logging in: The ins and outs of the ELD mandate

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The long-awaited final rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) is expected to be published by the end of October. The rule has been undergoing review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since late July. Approval from the OMB is the last step before a final ELD rule can be published.

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GPS Insight

GPS Insight’s ELD-200.

We should also clear up any confusion there might be about terminology. For the past decade you’ve probably used the term “Electronic On-Board Recorder,” or EOBR for short, to describe electronic logging devices. EOBR is the term that has been commonly used when referring to the device that houses electronic log applications.

The current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for Hours of Service compliance uses “Automatic On-Board Recording Device” (AOBRD) when outlining requirements that an electronic device must meet in order to be utilized in lieu of traditional paper log books. AOBRD is the correct terminology when referring to regulated technology.

Today, “Electronic Logging Device” (ELD) is the language that the FMCSA is using as part of its current rulemaking when referring to systems defined by the new mandate. Additionally, FMCSA uses the term “ELD data” to refer to each data element captured by an ELD. No matter what you call it, ELDs are about to be officially mandated for industry wide use.

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Once the final rule mandating the use of Electronic Logging Devices is published, the compliance date will be two years for carriers and truck drivers to migrate to electronic logging devices. The ELD rule also provides for the “grandfathering” of current devices, allowing for their continued use until late 2019.

The ELD mandate stems from “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) legislation that became effective October 1, 2012. With the mandate, ELDs will be required for drivers that are currently

JJ Keller

JJ Keller’s E-Log system.

subject to paper logs as a means of tracking hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.

The ELD mandate also defines technical and performance specifications. Among them are that an ELD must allow the driver to log in and select duty status, graphically display a Record of Duty Status, provide data in a format that’s standardized and can be transmitted to law enforcement in a number of ways, such as by using wireless, USB or Bluetooth 2.0 devices.

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To address cost concerns, FMCSA has also provided that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can be used, as long as the system as a whole meets ELD requirements, including a hardwired connection to the truck’s engine.

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