As the mandated December deadline approaches, it is more important than ever to ensure your ELD devices are compliant with FMCSA regulations. And yet, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to ensure.
The fact is, if your fleet invests in an ELD and it is found to not be in compliance, the carrier will be stuck dealing with a difficult option. While truckers on the fleet payroll will be able to temporarily use paper logs, motor carriers will have a scant eight days from the moment they receive the non-compliance notification to replace the non-compliant devices.
In a situation where a large fleet has outfitted a lot of vehicles with non-compliant devices, the FMCSA will work with the carrier to develop a reasonable timeframe to get the devices replaced. Still, this provides minor comfort for a carrier doing their best to stay within the bounds of the law.
Also, consider the business relationship at stake. If a motor carrier has invested large sums in equipment that is found to not be in compliance, they need to evaluate who they are working with, lest they get caught in a rip-and-replace situation that doesn’t actually resolve the problem.
Looking For Verified Vendors
Consider this: There are no more than 36 ELDs currently on the FMCSA-approved list. Even more interesting – and perhaps puzzling to some – is that some of the largest names in trucking telematics are still absent from the list.
Whether you are referring to Omnitracs or PeopleNet, these big vendors are notably absent. The primary reason for their absence lies in the fact that they are still going through a rigorous self-certification process.
The FMCSA ELD-certification guidelines comprise a whopping 500+ page document. There’s a slew of technical details to consider and major players want to make sure they get it right before arbitrarily placing their equipment on the list.
Whether you are referring to HOS rulesets, California ag rules or Texas oil field rules, there are a lot of different aspects to consider. Vendors must weigh all of this together and ensure their devices are compliant.
What is ERODS?
One of the primary issues vendors are reporting is with the law enforcement data reporting aspect. The majority of enforcement officers will be using a software called Electronic Record of Duty Status, or ERODS. This software will be designed to translate data from a file in the ELD to the enforcement officer’s own system.
The officer can make the transfer one of a few different ways:
- Uploaded via a web service
- Sent as an attachment in an email
- Peer-to-peer short distance transfer
- Bluetooth transfer
- USB File transfer
Still not every state will do a file transfer to ERODS. In those cases, a truck driver can either print a copy of the log and hand it to the officer or the actual ELD device itself can be given to the officer. The device display would then mimic how a traditional paper log grid looks.
The Fleet Recourse
With these disparate forces at play, what is a fleet to do to ensure the equipment they are using meets federal requirements? The simplest option is to initiate a dialog with the ELD vendor to ensure they have done their due diligence in ensuring the device is compliant.
They can also request that a provision be written into their supply agreement that requires compensation for damages should the device being used be delisted. This is especially important if fleet truck drivers have experienced lost time.
Consider that an ELD provider who does not meet the requirements likely won’t agree to that provision within the contract. In the end, it is vitally important that you go with a vendor who solidly stands behind their product without question.