Special Guest Blog Post featuring Abraham Levine, Chief Operating Officer of VisTracks
With the new guidelines set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding mandated Hours of Service (HOS) Electronic Logging Device (ELD), fleet managers may be working through the complex HOS and ELD rules and wondering how this will affect their operations. The mandatory Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), establish minimum performance and standards for HOS and ELDs.
These regulations are mandatory and require drivers who are currently required to prepare HOS records of duty status (RODS) to use these devices. The e-log mandate also includes requirements concerning HOS supporting documents and measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs. The requirements for ELDs will improve compliance with the HOS rules.
What is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?
ELD systems consist of a tablet or smartphone in the vehicle which runs the HOS and DVIR app. This app keeps track of driver status, shift and break times, has an electronic log (e-log) in the same format of the paper ones, handles vehicle inspections, and tracks compliance with hundreds, if not thousands, of ELD rules. The tablet/smartphone receives much of this data in real-time from the ELD connected to either the J-bus for heavy duty vehicles or the OBD port for lighter vehicles. The ELD gathers data such as vehicle speed, RPM, odometer readings, VIN, engine hours, and more. The application prepares logs based on all of this information, and it automatically responds to this data. For example, it may ensure compliance by locking the screen if the vehicle goes over a certain speed.
Who Will Need to Follow These Rules and When?
In general, drivers of vehicles weighing 10,000 GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) or more, who drive more than 150 miles from their headquarters or distribution center, or who drive certain passenger vehicles (such as buses) are required to conform to these new rules. For those currently using paper logs, the final compliance date is December 10th, 2017. For those using older AOBRD systems, the compliance date is December 10, 2019.
Should You Wait to Comply with ELD Rules?
No. Many ask, given that the new ELD rules aren’t mandatory until December 2017, why should anyone care until the compliance date draws closer? Here are a few reasons why it’s important to get on board with the new rules now:
- The rules make sense – yes, they can be complex as any government set of rules can be, but they will help prevent accidents and injuries much better than the current paper-based rules.
- Customers are requiring it – because it’s difficult to get trucking resources, many fleet customers are demanding that their fleet suppliers get compliant now. Customers want to avoid the risk of a supplier not making the compliance date and leaving them scrambling for new trucking resources.
- Competitive position – given the aforementioned issue, those fleets or owner-operators that are ELD compliant will gain customers more readily than those that have not yet done so.
- Vendor support – thus far, demand for ELD hardware/software is at a minimum. Those fleets and owner-operators that buy now will get much better individualized support and customer service from their vendor than next year when there is likely to be a stampede to buy.
- Pricing – there are several software and hardware vendors combining to provide complete ELD solutions. Due to the quantity of suppliers in the market, there is competition for customers, resulting in better prices for early adopters. Once the buying stampede hits, however, demand will outstrip supply and prices will certainly climb.
What Should You Do?
It makes sense to become ELD compliant now so that you can gain a competitive advantage, get better prices and better support, and take care of this now rather than scrambling to do so at the end of 2017. Quite simply, complying with these regulations now can bring peace of mind to you and your customers, industry advantage, and economic benefits.
Position Logic can help your company with ELD compliance. We already have fleet management GPS tracking solutions in place that can easily be adapted to fit your company’s tracking needs and ELD rules. For more information on this topic, check out our webinar HERE. Learn more about our location-based fleet tracking services, professional consulting, and more, or contact us to talk to a representative about our platform and to request a demo.