No question about it: Making sure you’re compliant with ELD regulations can sometimes be a little bit confusing. With ELDs mandated to replace AOBRDs by December 2019, now is a good time for fleets and drivers needing to make the switch to learn more about how ELDs work – and it’s always a good time for drivers currently operating with ELDs in their rigs to brush up on how best to use the devices.
The first thing you need to know is that here at CyntrX, we have a dedicated ELD compliance team on staff. This post draws on ELD questions and discussions that we’ve had with fleet managers and drivers over the past few years – including some discussions that were had with drivers on the phone as law enforcement officers (LEOs) stood (patiently, one presumes) outside the cab waiting for ELD-related information.
According to Dylan Williams, our ELD Compliance Supervisor here at CyntrX, “I’m still getting used to this” is no longer an answer that enforcement officials are prepared to accept when it comes to ELD – making it imperative for drivers to fully understand how to use their ELDs, and for fleet managers to make sure that their drivers do indeed have that understanding.
Which brings us to our second point: Once an LEO notes a problem of some sort, it’s not unusual for them to start actively looking for more problems. If you don’t understand how your ELD works, or how to best use it, these kinds of problems can quickly snowball – so keep in mind that if there’s anything you don’t understand about your ELD, even if it’s not something discussed here, please contact your fleet manager or CyntrX as soon as possible.
With all that in mind, we’re here to help you out with these three frequently asked questions about ELD.
What Do I Do If My ELD has Previously Malfunctioned?Drivers need to be able to establish to LEOs their hours of service (HOS). Thus, if an ELD has failed, drivers at a bare minimum should keep a paper log while their ELD is offline – and edit their times into the ELD as soon as it’s once again operational.
Are ELD Remarks Useful?One of the primary tasks for any LEO is gauging credibility. This is no less true when the LEO has you pulled over on the side of the road, and something in your ELD data feels a little off to them. Are you going to be credible enough that they are going to buy your explanation, or are they going to feel like you are just making things up on the spot
Taking the time to remark on your ELD data as unusual or noteworthy situations arise can go a long way towards establishing credibility with an LEO, because they’ll see it right in the data along with whatever unusual data point its explaining. These annotations are also visible to back office personnel like your fleet manager – and they’re certainly going to appreciate how much easier your annotations have made their job.
Here’s ELD Compliance Supervisor Dylan Williams again:
“Use the Remarks feature instead of direct annotations, because they’ll be time and date-stamped with a location and won’t risk an officer thinking you might have falsified or editing your status in some way. And keep them simple. You don’t have to write a whole paragraph – just offer enough information so that the officer won’t have to ask you for more detail. For example, ‘ELD malfunction. Can’t connect to truck. See paper log’ is a good, short, and clear remark that will tell the officer what they need to know.
When in doubt, ask yourself this question: ‘Will an officer need to ask for clarification of this remark?’ If the answer is no, then you’re good to go.”
What’s the Best Way to Transmit ELD Data?Be sure that you know how to transmit data to requesting LEOs in any of the ways in which they’re allowed to ask for it, be that via web service, email, or what have you. Not knowing how to transfer data to the LEO when they ask for it is likely to frustrate them, and also to give them the impression that you don’t know how to use your device – and thus is also likely to start the snowball of problems to which we alluded earlier.
Some Officers are under the impression that you should be able to email the logs directly to any email address. This is not true. The FMCSA requires that your logs be transferred in the form of “an encrypted file” for your protection. This means the logs will either be sent to the Federal E-RODs Portal (FMCSA Data Transfer), a Centralized E-Mail Queue (E-Mail), or via a Local Transfer (Encrypted USB or Bluetooth) – which is very rare.
If you happen to encounter an Officer that is experiencing difficulty with any of these processes, please reach out to the CyntrX Compliance Department at (866) 634-6348 during the inspection and we will be more than happy to assist them.
Again: “I’m still getting used to this” isn’t going to pass muster.
Know Your ELD Device – And Use It
In summary, aside from having the device itself, of course, it’s imperative that you both understand the device and use it. That’s advice that extends all through your time in the cab. Know how to log in and log out of the device. Know how to change your status. Be sure that your logs are certified daily. Know how to enter remarks, as discussed above. Know those things, and do them religiously.
To help prevent problems from ever arising, CyntrX offers complete ELD training to our customers’ fleet managers and drivers. As mentioned, we have a compliance team here on staff, and we’re always ready to answer questions about ELD. Those questions can be hypothetical – but of course, in the real world sometimes things go wrong, and we’ve also answered quite a few questions in real time.
So if you have questions about your ELD device, or even ELD in general, don’t wait to contact us until you’re sitting on the side of the road. We’ve been helping fleets and drivers successfully meet the ELD requirements ever since their inception, and can help you turn your ELD from a cost center into a cost saver.
Of course, you can if you'd like us to show you first-hand how CyntrX ELD works, and how it can help you, you can use this button to request your free, no-obligation ELD demo: