What is an Electronic Logging Device?

Posted 02/12/16

The tide of increasingly advanced technology permeating our lifestyles seems to continue to rise, recently extending its flow into the hardy, no-nonsense world of trucking and commercial transportation.

Late last year the federal government put in place new requirements mandating all commercial trucks be equipped with an electronic logging device by December 2017.

The premise behind the new regulations is that the devices – called ELDs – would make roads safer and lead to a more prosperous and efficient commercial transportation industry. Regulators also believed the two-year window would give fleet manages some breathing room to better understand the new technology and to equip their trucks with the ELDs.

However, some industry leaders and fleet managers are finding the way forward a little foggy and are looking for directions to alleviate some of the confusion.

We at iGlobal LLC will bring some clarity to the federal ruling in order to stem the ebb of confusion about the mandate’s intricate requirements. This is the first in an ongoing series that will explore the new rule and provide answers from one of the industry’s leading experts, Annette Sandberg, the CEO of TransSafe Consulting, LLC and Of Counsel for Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, a Spokane, Washington-based law firm.

Sandberg has served as administrator and deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, United States Department of Transportation.

The first question: What is an ELD?

“In essence, an (ELD) is a device that captures the movement of a commercial motor vehicle,” Sandberg said during a conference with FleetOwner, an online information source of fleet operators. “The requirement behind ELDs is that any time a truck is moving, the device will measure the number of miles the truck moves and will periodically provide updates regarding where the truck is located.”

The mandate lays out specific requirements on how ELDs must function. “The device must capture the location of the truck at each change of duty status or at least once every hour. The device must also capture the location each time the engine is turned on or off.”

ELDs automatically record drivers’ road time. Drivers themselves have to enter other information in their ELDs about their schedules and duty status.

“For example, let’s say a driver drives for 100 miles and then stops,” Sandberg said. “If the driver does nothing, the device will start an internal clock at the time the truck stops. After five minutes, the device is required to move the driver to on-duty/not driving status.”

semi truck on the road

Under the mandate’s requirement, ELDs will display warnings to drivers who are going off duty and not driving. “If the driver does nothing else, the device will continue to keep the driver in on-duty/not driving. If the driver wishes to go off-duty, the driver must manually enter the new duty status into the device.

“These devices are really only intended to automatically capture movement of the truck and record it as drive time,” Sandberg said. “Neither the driver nor the carrier can remove the drive time. All time a truck moves must be captured in the system and assigned to someone.”

Worried about the ELD mandate’s complex requirements, stay tuned to further articles

Next week’s question is: “Why is FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requiring these devices?”

iGlobal LLC is a fast-paced technology company that specializes in providing technology solutions for the transportation, logistics and distribution industries. We build hardware and develop software that answers complex business critical problems, and bring immediate ROI to our customers.


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