Electronic Logging Device Mandate

6 Things You Might Not Know About the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate

With the final Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate coming later this year, and with Canada now implementing a similar law in 2021, shippers should be thinking about how these new regulations impact their transportation flows and logistics processes.

At a time when trucking capacity is fluctuating, the labor market is tight, and finding new drivers is more difficult than ever, staying abreast of ELD-related trends and actions is imperative. Here are six important things you may not have known about the ELD mandate and what it means for shippers, carriers, and logistics providers:

1) AOBRDs and ELDs are two different things. This can be a point of confusion. Here’s the difference between the two:

Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) were designed to meet FMCSA regulations established in the late 1980s, with the ability to track a driver’s duty status information to comply with HOS rules by recording engine use, speed, miles driven, and dates/times by using a physical connection to the engine, according to TruckingInfo.com. The simple technology is limited and comes with flaws like the ability for supervisors to change logs without a driver’s approval.

An ELD documents a driver’s driving time and speed to ensure compliance with the Hours of Service Regulations (HOS). It also provides integral synchronization into a vehicle’s diagnostic port to record vehicle motion activity, engine hours, power status, vehicle motion status, and location, making it more accurate. “The sophisticated technology also requires a driver’s approval of their electronic logs, the ability to make alterations and annotations—in the event of errors or need for clarification,” TruckingInfo.com states, “and the requirement that drivers approve any changes made by supervisors or other back-office personnel.”

2) Drivers can’t use AOBRDS after December 15, 2019. Starting December 16, 2019, all carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must use ELDs. The rule applies to motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to keep records of duty service (RODS) under the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. According to the FMCSA, drivers who use the time card exception, and don’t keep a paper record of duty status (RODS), will not be required to use ELDs. The following drivers may continue to keep paper RODS:

• Drivers who keep RODS no more than eight days during any 30-day period.
• Driveaway-towaway drivers (transporting a vehicle for sale, lease, or repair), provided the vehicle driven is part of the shipment or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or recreational vehicle trailer.
• Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

3) Carriers are waiting until the last minute to replace AOBRDs. Unlike the initial implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in December 2017 and the beginning of full enforcement in April 2018, there has not been nearly as much attention paid to the upcoming Dec. 16 deadline to permanently phase out older generation AOBRDs. By some estimates, two million devices still need to be upgraded or replaced, Fleet Owner reports. In fact, a new study from FreightWaves and EROAD found that one in five small carriers had yet to make the switch from AOBRDs. Of the fleets waiting until the fourth quarter to switch over to ELDs, 29 percent are planning to do so in October, 37 percent are planning to wait until November, and the final 26 percent will wait until the final buzzer in December.

4) Canada is getting onboard with ELDs…Canada will require the use of ELDs beginning in June 2021, making official a long-sought regulation of the commercial transportation industry, Nate Tabak writes in Canada to require ELDs in 2021. He adds that Transport Canada has estimated that ELDs will reduce the amount of fatigue-related collisions by 10 percent.

5) …but Canada is doing it differently. Canada’s mandate, which also applies to commercial buses, includes third-party certification of all ELDs in Canada, according to Tabak. Third-party certification stands in contrast to the U.S., where manufacturers self-certify devices, he writes. The Canadian government expects it will take 12 months to accredit certification bodies and for ELDs themselves to get approved.

6) ELDs are impacting the transportation industry. According to FreightWaves, researchers from three U.S. universities explored whether or not the ELD mandate reduced crashes and found that the mandate increased HOS compliance overall, decreased the percentage of inspections for violations overall, and had no significant effect on crash counts. Looking at Canada, William B. Cassidy writes in ELD mandate a ‘game changer’ for Canadian shippers, that the country’s 2021 ELD mandate will pose a “major challenge” to shippers unless they prepare well in advance for delays, longer transit times, and higher costs. “Shippers that don’t prepare for the ELD rule…could suffer supply chain breakdowns,” he writes. For example, differences in Canada’s geography, population, and regional economies mean tighter enforcement of HOS rules likely will put more pressure on certain sectors of trucking in regions as varied as the far Northwest, Central Canada, and the Maritimes.

Odyssey is committed, across all levels of our company, to working towards continued improvement in safety, health, the environment, and security performance. Odyssey has monitored the ELD mandates since 2015, and will continue to monitor the final implementation.

For additional information, contact an Odyssey representative here.