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By Nick “the Safety Guy” Holub

article courtesy Equip Safety

We all know that Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are in the transportation industry’s future. It is my hope that this article equips you to determine your position, and in what direction are you headed. If you feel alone, you are not.

An estimated 3.4 million truck drivers use ELogs, according to www.eldfacts.com. The electronic logging device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, date and time of day.

What is an ELog?

Here, we’ll answer some important questions: Who needs to ELog? When am I required to ELog? What other benefits are there to ELDs? What is the best practice to implement this change?

Who is ELog for?

It might be easier to ask who is exempt. Drivers who keep records of duty service (RODS) in eight or fewer days of out of every 30 working days; drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations and drivers of vehicles manufactured before the year 2000 are exempt.

You also are exempt if you fall into the short haul 150-air mile radiuses. This means that if you park your truck at the same place every night, stay within a 150 radius of your facility and your drivers work less than 12 hours per day and less than 70 hours per week, it may not be mandatory for the use of Electronic Logs.

Sometimes it’s harder when you do have a choice in a matter, instead of being required to do it.

ELog Requirements

Before Dec. 18, 2017, operators can use ELDs voluntarily or continue using paper logs, or use devices installed with logging software and applications or AOBRDs.

From Dec. 18, 2017 through Dec. 16, 2019, carriers must use ELDs unless they use Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRDs) installed before Dec. 18, 2017.

After Dec. 16, 2019, all carriers must use ELDs. If you use ELDs before Dec. 18, 2017, keep documentation in the vehicle; this documentation became mandatory beginning Dec. 18, 2017. Retaining ELD data and backup data on separate systems became mandatory beginning Dec. 18, 2017. The data must be retained for at least six months.

Secure storage of all data and backups to protect driver privacy. Harassment protection takes effect as soon as you begin using ELDs. I suggest not pressuring a driver to take action that results in an Hours of Service (HOS) violation or to drive when ill or fatigued. Carriers are subject to a penalty for harassment as well as the penalty for the HOS violation.

Who provides ELog services?

There are many companies that will be happy to provide you with this service at a small, convenient fee. Some of these include JJ Keller, Big Road and Nextraq.

The two I have dealt personally are Big Road and Nextraq. Big Road has an app that will allow you to digitally track your driving and produce a database for your logs. In fact, if you are an independent driver you can use their app with no fees.

Using this free option could be a good way for your drivers to keep their own personal logs. If, however, you are in the group with employed drivers, there is a free trial period so that you can test out the software prior to contracting with them. Nextraq has informative YouTube video demonstrations for your research and training.

Now, for the nickels and dimes of your costs and savings. If you have put in the time, and know how long it takes to review a log, correct a log, track driver hours of service, denote needed repairs and verify document changes and you multiplied that number times your loaded labor rate, then you know your costs. I tip my hat to you.

For those who have not, most providers will give you ballpark estimates. Big Road possible savings can be more than $30,000 per year. This includes reduced HOS log audit fees and fines, elimination of expensive road-side faxing, faster, compliant vehicle inspections, better truck route planning, elimination of expensive GPS hardware and prevention of form and manner errors.

Nextraq’s online calculator for 10 vehicles is estimated at $5,677.50 per month. That would be $68,130 per year. These savings include extra billing, wages saved and fuel savings. These refer more to other fleet needs, but you get the idea.

Retaining ELD data and backup data on separate systems is mandatory beginning Dec. 18, 2017. The data must be retained for at least 6 month.

While it seems as if there is an infinite amount of resources available today online, but at Equip Safety we have the knowledge and experience to guide your company to being safer and work towards achieving the “Zero” that we all strive for.

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