Electronic logging devices are a hot topic of conversation among construction and transportation companies right now. This is due to new governmental regulations that will affect both long- and short-haul drivers as they work to become compliant with the law over the next two years.
In the past, long-haul truck drivers were required to manually enter and maintain logbooks of how many hours they have worked, both in the last seven days and the last 24 hours. If a driver is stopped by the Department of Transportation (DOT), they can be fined or shut down if logbooks reveal they are over their daily or weekly on-duty and driving time limits.
However, since these logbooks are filled out by hand, they can be manipulated easily so drivers can work more hours without being fined if/when stopped.
This practice has become so common that the U.S. government intervened. On Dec. 10, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a new electronic logging requirement intended to utilize computers already installed on modern trucks. Essentially, if the engine is running and the truck is moving, the driver’s system must capture the information and log it against their available time.
The new Final Rule will officially go into effect and be enforced on Dec. 11, 2017, giving drivers and their companies two years to become compliant.
What Short-Haul Drivers Need to Know
Most construction companies have not had to adhere to long-haul requirements because their drivers have fallen under the 100-mile exemption, which states that a driver does not have to maintain a logbook of hours as long as the driving distance is within 100 miles of the home terminal.
However, the new electronic logging rule will apply to both long- and short-haul drivers, and all drivers must be compliant in December 2017.
Companies that employ short-haul drivers now face unforeseen hurdles, such as:
- Investing in new ELD technology and outfitting their trucks;
- Training drivers to understand the technology and to ensure this process becomes part of their new workflows;
- Implementing pre- and post-trip inspection procedures, since digital vehicle inspection; reports (DVIRs) must be kept on file for six months in case of a DOT audit; and
- Providing trucking managers with real-time visibility into the number of hours each driver has available at any given time.
How to Select the Right Solution for You
To help you become compliant with the new governmental regulations for electronic logs, HCSS has highlighted a few things to consider along the way.
- Look for a solution that uses the latest technology available and has plug-and-play capabilities. This will help you avoid purchasing outdated or expensive hardware.
- Find an ELD solution that comes with a mobile app function. Drivers will appreciate a simple, flexible system that can be run on a tablet or phone (either company-owned or via their personal device) and is adaptable for Android or iOS systems. With a mobile app, you won’t have to deal with expensive and time-consuming wiring and installation.
- Select software that seamlessly integrates with your existing systems. This makes it easier to track electronic logs, in addition to information such as inspection items, location and engine data, and other compliance data. Plus, your team will already understand the basics of the software and easily integrate the new logging processes into their workflows.
- The ability to run in connected or disconnected mode is another feature to keep in mind to give you full control of your ELD solution. You should be able to choose whether or not you drivers need a data plan. In addition, your solution should come with fully customizable inspection reports specific to each type of vehicle, so all of your trucks and drivers can be compliant as quickly and easily as possible.
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