We have now entered the age of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), as mandated by the federal government. Although controversial among owner-operators in the transportation industry, the ELD requirement “is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status data.”
Whether you are for or against the rule, ELDs are here to stay for the foreseeable future, and we want to help you remain legally compliant and successful in the management of your vehicles. An important consideration in keeping up with the new law is to update your company policies.
Every Motor Carrier is required to have a written company policy for how they intend to follow the hours-of-service regulations outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Reviewing and modernizing company policies and procedures is important and necessary during big regulatory changes, so here are 10 ELD Updates to Your Company’s Hours-of-Service Policy you may want to consider!!
1. Using ELD: Driver is required to understand how to interact with the device including how to log in/out, updating information, changing duty status, making annotations, and determining available drive time.
2. ELD HOS Inspection: Driver must have the ability to read, transmit, display, and explain hours-of-service ELD data during an inspection.
3. ELD Instructions Book: Driver must maintain a copy of the ELD device operational instructions in the truck and make it available if asked during an inspection.
4. Blank Paper Logs: Driver must maintain a supply of blank paper logs in the truck with the ability to reconstruct paper logs in case of recording device failure.
5. Accurate Driver Logs: Driver must insure all logs are accurate and finalized by editing unintentional status errors and making a final log approval at the end of each work period.
6. ELD Notations for Adverse Driving Conditions: Driver must only apply the Adverse Driving Conditions notation in accordance to the condition as defined in Part 395.
7. Personal Conveyance: Driver must only record Personal Conveyance in accordance with the exception as defined in Part 395.
8. ELD Malfunctions: Driver must insure device failures are rectified within 8 days.
9. Yard Moves: Drivers will report “Off Duty” or “Yard Move” when moving trucks in a yard.
10. Unassigned Driving Time: Driver is required to review “Unassigned Driving Time” events of their truck during his/her next login by accepting or rejecting the drive time. If the driver rejects the time, the carrier staff must review all “unassigned driving time” events, and assign them to the appropriate driver, or explain in a note on the ELD record why it is unassigned.
Bonus Points: This could also be a good time to look at your disciplinary or reward policies too. If your company has safety-compliance driver bonuses or disciplinary policies, you may consider adding the use of ELDs to those practices to help improve or reward driver performance. You can even get creative with the measurement tools by turning your rewards-allocation into a game where drivers earn various rewards when they hit or avoiding certain metrics.
This article is, of course, not meant to be a complete list. Reading these 10 updates may inspire you to think of other policy ideas. Or, you may want to attend a Trucking Regulatory Conference to learn more about ELD best practices. It’s also a good idea to talk with your management team and with your best drivers to co-create the updates that makes the most sense for your company and employees. After updating your policies, organize an “ELD-Operation and Driver-Safety Meeting” to go over these updates so everyone is on the same page.
What do you think? What hours-of-service policy changes do you think would be most beneficial to companies and to drivers now that ELDs are law?? Let us know in the comments below!!
Luke Kibby is the Business Development and Marketing Manager for Glostone Trucking Solutions, which helps motor carriers reduce the costs of complying with state and federal regulations.