Navigating the New Electronic Logbooks

Starting in October, the way you log your time will look and feel completely different. The days of manually writing down your time are coming to an end.

Last October, a major hurdle in the way of making electronic logging devices (ELDs) mandated on all commercial transportation trucks in the U.S. was cleared.

While the debate on mandating ELDs on every truck is not a done deal, it is predicted to be passed in congress over the next few months.

If you’re a driver or owner of a transportation trucking company, there are some things about the coming logging changes you need to know:

1. What is the deadline for having ELD installed on my truck?

According to the proposed plan, trucks drivers and truck owners will need to purchase an ELDs and install it on their truck by December 2017. Trucks already equipped with an automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) will be permitted to continuing to use the AOBRDs for two years after the December deadline.

2. What if I get a new truck after the December deadline?

If you’re simply replacing a truck that has an AOBRD, you can simply install the old AOBRD into the new truck. If the old truck didn’t have an AOBRD, a new one can be purchased and installed on the new truck before December 18, 2017. A new truck purchased after December 18,2017 will need to have the new electronic logging device bought and installed.

3. How hard is it to switch from AOBRD to ELD?

The transition will be easy and quick as it only requires a simple software upgrade.

4. What are some of the biggest changes to be aware of?

The new ELD system will bring some significant changes in how hours are logged. The most noticeable changes will include:

    • Drivers having more control of the hours by making drivers the ones to edit and approve hours
    • Hours when an unassigned vehicle moves such as moving a truck across the lot will need to be counted
    • The ELD system will be available to be synched with a smartphone and tablet

5.   How do you choose the right ELD provider?

There will be multiple companies jumping at the opportunity to manufacture and supply the new ELDs. It is important to make your decision wisely.

When looking for an ELD provider, look for these characteristics:

  • Stability
  • Are financially able to exists for years into the future
  • Has a record of making electronic logs
  • Ask how many devices from the manufacturer are being used in your business
  • Manufacture products that are in compliance
  • They are up-to-date on their devices and technology
  • The company understands any unusual operations your company has, such as odd business operations

6.     How do you choose the device that’s right for your fleet?

There are multiple ELDs out there, some of which may or may not be best suited for your specific fleet. When looking for an ELD to invest in, consider which specific features your fleet needs beyond the electronic logs, the operational thresholds of the ELD units, the operating system and other software components.

Also consider how the ELDs will integrate into both your trucks and back office, the units interface, and how the device will ultimately add value to your company.

7.   What is the best way to train drivers for the new system?

There is a large learning curve, especially for drivers used to the paper logbooks. There should be a short lag time between teaching drivers and having them use the system.

The training needs to include normal use, special use, requesting/making edits, common problems (and solutions), what to do if the device fails, and setting the device up for roadside inspection. The training should involve live training using an actual device.

8.   How will the new system be enforced on the road?

Drivers will need to transfer data from the ELD to the enforcement officials upon request. There will be two main ways to do this: use an email or wireless web service to transfer data from the ELD to the enforcement officials or transfer the data from ELD to the enforcement official via Bluetooth or USB.

In addition, the driver must either give a printout of the log on the ELD to the official or hand the officer the ELD display.

9.   What if the ELD system breaks?

The driver can resort to the manual written logging of hours if the ELD system breaks or malfunctions. The ELD needs to be repaired or replaced within 8 days.

10.  How will the new system affect productivity?

As with the roll-out of any major change, there will be initial productivity loss. Some carriers have noticed an increase in productivity.

Transitioning from the traditional paper hours logs to electronic logging can be a challenge for veteran drivers.

Those looking to start their truck driving careers will be taught how to operate the new ELD units during their schooling and licensing process.

If you want to be a part of the changing truck driving field, look no further than Commercial Vehicle Training Center.

Our seasoned, expert instructors give students some of the best hands-on instruction in the country. Contact us today to learn more about our reputable truck driving training program and how we can help you get started on your truck driving career.

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