April 1, 2018 is just around the corner, and that means the FMCSA’s ELD compliance grace period is nearly over. The grace period of just over three months hasn’t been a free pass to ignore the ELD Mandate. Rather, it’s a time during which the FMCSA is exercising leniency when it comes to putting vehicles out-of-service for noncompliance, opting to help fleets make the transition more smoothly instead. In order to avoid getting a citation for the next few days, there must be a good faith effort made to keep qualified vehicles compliant. But if you’re without an ELD or compliant AOBRD after April 1, you could be put out-of-service.
If you still haven’t found an ELD solution that works for you, you’re cutting it close. The perfect solution depends on several factors, like the size of your fleet and what kinds of extra features you want your ELD to have. But, some of the things you’ll need to look for are required by the Mandate. Here’s what you should keep in mind if you’re on the hunt for an ELD.
To be considered a compliant ELD, devices have to meet the new set of technical standards the ELD Mandate introduced. Under those specifications, the ELD needs to be synced with the engine to automatically capture information about the vehicle:
• Engine power status
• Vehicle motion status
• Miles driven
• Engine hours
The ELD must also automatically capture vehicle location information periodically:
• Each time the driver’s duty status changes
• Every 60 minutes while the vehicle is in motion
• Each time the engine is turned on or off
• At the beginning and end of yard moves and personal use
Compliant ELDs have to be able to produce a graph of the driver’s changes of duty status, either displayed on the device or as a printout, and they must be registered with the FMCSA.
This might be one of the most important factors to consider. Since vehicles across several different industries must comply with the Mandate, ELD solutions are often geared toward specific industries. ES Track, for example, is an ELD-compliant telematics solution that’s built for construction fleets and general contractors. Since ES Track’s other features include things like equipment tracking and predictive maintenance, it’s an ideal fit for construction fleets of all sizes. If you’re a carrier with a fleet of semi trucks, your needs might be a little bit different. Regardless, do some research to be sure the ELD is the best fit for your industry.
The ELD rule requires the devices to meet certain technical specifications, and that includes the ability to automatically collect and transmit data about what the engine is doing and when. And that connectivity means plenty of opportunities for more functionality. Some devices offer built-in fleet management tools along with ELD compliance. Using an ELD can do more for your fleet than just comply with a law — the right one can maximize efficiency and increase your bottom line.
ES Track is much more than an ELD; it’s an all-in-one telematics solution that helps you simplify every part of mixed construction fleet management. Features like driver scorecards, GPS tracking and vehicle diagnostics put the Internet of Things to work for you. Finding the right ELD can help you get more work done.
Did you know there are three phases to ELD implementation? And we’re still in Phase 2, which means AOBRDs installed before December 18, 2017 have been grandfathered in and are considered compliant. The FMCSA also recently said it will allow AOBRD software to be used with ELD-compliant devices in new vehicles if employers were using AOBRDs and AOBRD software prior to last December. The Mandate’s third and final phase will take effect on December 16, 2019, and then AOBRDs — and AOBRD software — will need to be replaced with ELDs.
There are a few exemptions to the ELD rule, so double-check that criteria to make sure your vehicles aren’t exempt. Aside from those built-in exemptions, agricultural products haulers were issued a 90-day complete exemption from ELD compliance last December, which was set to expire on March 18, 2018. The exemption was granted to give the FMCSA and the agricultural industry time to decide how livestock haulers would deal with the ELD Mandate’s hours of services (HOS) requirements. The FMCSA issued another 90-day exemption a few days before that deadline, a relief for the ag industry — at least until June 18 — while it continues to push for a one-year implementation delay.
Ag products haulers’ exemption will likely continue until the FMCSA and the ag industry iron out how ELDs will work for haulers. Given that they are transporting live plants and animals, the strict hours and breaks enforced by ELDs are next to impossible for ag carriers to follow. Drivers are allowed to work for 14 hours at a stretch, including only 11 hours on the road and one mandatory half-hour break. Between shifts, they have to take a ten-hour break, something that’s not always feasible with a truck full of livestock. It remains to be seen if the FMCSA and the agricultural industry will reach an agreement on ELD rules before this waiver expires in June.
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