Know Your Customer: Understanding the New ELD Law

“When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage.” — renowned salesman and entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman

As a salesperson, it’s up to you to fully understand both (1) what you’re selling and (2) who you’re selling it to. If you’ve been keeping up with what’s happening in the trucking world, then you know most motor carriers are required by federal law to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to track drivers’ hours as of Dec. 17. If you hear someone mention the “ELD mandate,” this is what they’re referring to.

Bottom line: if the rule isn’t followed to the letter, drivers risk points on their CSA scores. Pro-Driver, luckily, has their backs if they find themselves faced with a violation.

Here’s how the new rule affects truckers:

  • The Dec. 17 deadline also applies to grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD), which were previously allowed to record duty status as a substitute for ELDs. Basically, any carrier using an AOBRD must also have a fully operational ELD installed.
  • If drivers have performed the software update to turn their AOBRD into an ELD but haven’t replaced the driver instruction card, they could get hit with three points on their CSA score. It’s one point for each missing piece:
    • Instructions on how to use the ELD
    • Instruction on how to transfer data to the enforcement officer at roadside
    • Instructions on what to do in case of malfunction
  • One of the biggest differences between an AOBRD and an ELD is the ELD must be able to transfer a data file to the enforcement official at roadside. If drivers don’t know how to do this, they may receive a violation for failing to transfer a data file.
  • Drivers have to certify their logs as true and accurate at the end of each day. If a driver hasn’t certified his or her log, then logs in the next day and starts driving, he or she is now in violation.
  • There is no “soft enforcement” grace period. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has stated roadside inspectors began fully enforcing the ELD rule on Dec. 17. There are no extensions or exceptions.
  • Enforcement personnel must be able to read ELDs without having to enter a vehicle. Even if the ELD uses a mobile device, the display must be visible from outside the cab — as in from the ground, not from the truck step.
  • Commercial drivers who aren’t compliant with the new rule are considered to have “no record of duty status.” According to the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, a property-carrying driver without a record of duty status when one is required will be declared “out of service” for 10 hours.
  • The ELD rule doesn’t change any hours-of-service regulations. Full details on these regulations can be found on the FMCSA website.
  • Some ELDs don’t qualify under the new law. The FMCSA maintains a full list of compliant devices.
  • There are hundreds of ELDs on the FMCSA’s certified list, so investigators aren’t up on every single little detail. Drivers risk unfavorable compliance reviews if they can’t function their own systems.

By understanding the ins and outs of the new ELD rule, you can more effectively talk to drivers about things to keep in mind to avoid citations, poor CSA scores or unsatisfactory safety ratings. Because no matter what they’re up against, TVC keeps drivers rolling.

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