Explaining The ELD Mandate: What Is Harassment and Why Does It Matter
Federal officials believe the newly instituted electronic logging device (ELD) mandate will lead to safer roads, a more streamlined commercial trucking industry and a closer scrutiny of drivers’ road time. But will fleet managers be able to use the technology to harass drivers into skirting federal rules?
The short answer is no; experts say the mandate includes measures protecting drivers. This is the seventh part in iGlobal LLC’s ongoing series explaining the ELD mandate.
Industry expert Annette Sandberg explained harassment and why it matters to the industry. Sanders spoke with fleet leaders late last year at a conference by FleetOwner, an online information source for fleet leaders. Sandberg was administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sanders said the new regulations, enacted late last year, include provisions prohibiting fleet managers from using ELD-collected information or monitoring capacities to harass drivers into violating federal rules, such as exceeding maximum time-on-road limits and other practices.
Motor Carriers Are Banned from Compelling Drivers To Violate Federal Rules
“Harassment is defined as ‘An action by a motor carrier toward a driver employed by the motor carrier… involving the use of the information available to the motor carrier through an ELD… or through other technology used in combination with and not separable from the ELD to the motor carrier knew or should have known, would result in the driver violating (federal rules),’” Sanders said. The provision also protects independent drivers working for a motor carrier.
Safeguards in the mandate include:
- The device should have a “mute” function to prevent noise while the driver is in the sleeper berth
- When a driver is in personal conveyance, the GPS location captured is for a larger area than when the vehicle is being operated in commerce (10-mile radius instead of 1 mile)
- Driver must certify any edits made by motor carrier management
- Driver has access to all their logs
The FMCSA “has set up a process for drivers to report harassment or coercion to break a rule,” Sanders said. “The agency finalized another rule on coercion – which reaches to a broader group including shippers and brokers. Both the harassment portion of the ELD Mandate and the Prohibition of Coercion rule are designed to ensure these devices are not used to harass drivers and cause them to violate the rules.” The penalty for coercion is $16,000 per offense.
Next week’s question is: What happens if a company or driver does not comply?
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