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Getting Ready for ELD - Q&A Session

[fa icon="calendar"] Thu, May 14, 2015 / by Stuart Wood

Your Questions on the ELD MandateOur recent webinar, Getting Ready for ELD, was very well received and sparked a lot of interest. We managed to answer everyone's questions during the session but didn't have the time to get everyone's specific concerns.

Here are the answers to all the questions we received during the webinar:

Q. Is the ELD mandate in effect yet?
A. The mandate for use of electronic logging devices (ELD) is not yet in effect. The final specifications for ELD are set to be published September 30th, 2015. The enforcement date is expected to be two years later in September 2017.

Q. We only have two trucks and mostly run intrastate in Texas for oilfields. Are we going to be required to have ELDs? We transport Hazmat, how does this affect us? Will the rule affect single truck owner operators if leased to a large company?
A. The ELD mandate affects all drivers that are required to keep driver logs, also known as Records of Duty Status (RODS). There are no changes to the hours of service rules and exemptions, just the method in which they are recorded.

In other words, it doesn't matter if you operate in the oilfield, transport hazmat, are a single owner operator, or anything else. If you have to keep a driver log today, you will need to have an ELD when the mandate is in effect.

Q. Will truckers operating within the 100 air-mile radius have to run ELDs?
A. No, drivers are not required to run ELDs if they are already exempt from keeping driver logs.

Q. If I have a light-duty vehicle, like a pickup truck and a trailer, am I going to have to get an ELD?
A. The simple answer is, if you currently have to use paper logs you are going to have to get an ELD. If you have a light-duty vehicle, it still qualifies as a commercial motor vehicle if the gross combined weight rating of the the vehicle and trailer is over 10,000lbs.

Q. Will there be a line 5 for owner operators "off duty driving" since we do use our trucks for personal conveyance and farm chores?
A. There is a provision for personal conveyance and yard moves in the ELD proposal. Drivers will be able to specify if they are using a vehicle in this way, however, it probably will not be a line on the standard grid graph but rather a separate indicator used alongside the graph.

Q. Why do some inspectors accept electronic logs while others don't? Is there a standard for what should be accepted?
A. Yes, there are a standards in place and guidance that is used by the CVSA. Even though electronic logs have been around for a while, like most things, it takes time for people to adapt. So this is why there are sometimes inconsistencies with inspectors. Also, the current regulations are open to a fair bit of interpretation which has lead to confusion.

When the ELD mandate comes into play, there will be a new set of guidance for enforcement to follow and this will likely cause another period of inconsistencies until everyone is up to speed. Keeping a copy of a BigRoad driver card in your vehicle will help you avoid problems. It is a handy reference that contains instructions for a roadside inspection.

Q. When will the approved vendors list of ELDs be available?
A. The approved vendors list aka "ELD Registry" will be made available some time after the final ruling is published. Once the ruling is published, it will take vendors some time to put together their final version of an ELD before they register.

Q. What happens when you don't have service or GPS when using a smartphone?
A. None of these prevent the ELD from working and will not cause you to have a violation. The specification says every five miles the ELD has to be able to get a fix on GPS. It also requires that every 60 minutes while driving and at every duty status transition the GPS location has to be recorded. If there hasn’t been a GPS fix in the last five miles, the ELD has to keep track of that. If the GPS location wasn’t recorded every 60 minutes or at a change in duty status, a note will be added to the log.

The ELD will be required to notify you if these problems are happening frequently, at which point you will be required to have the ELD repaired or replaced should a hardware issue be discovered.

Q. When using rental trucks, from say Penske or Idealease, how are you going to use an ELD?
A. Unless the leasing company is going to provide you with an ELD, you’ll need to use a product that you can install/uninstall easily. The main issue here is, if you have one system that you want all ELDs to record into and the lease truck provides another system, it’s going to be tricky to tie the lease trucks together with your owned trucks. The BigRoad approach is to make the installation as fast and easy as possible: DashLink plugs right into the vehicle’s diagnostic port under the dash. Once it’s plugged in, the DashLink device then communicates wirelessly with your smartphone.

Q. If you are in Canada is your ELD going to be legal? When will Canadian companies be forced to comply?
A. Nothing official has be announced yet, although the Canadian Minister of Transport does support the use of ELDs. Our best guess is that Canada will probably closely follow the United States when it comes to regulations. The bottom line is, as long as your ELD is compliant with existing Canadian regulations, you should be OK. The ELD specification is more a stringent version of electronic logging requirements so there shouldn’t be a problem with crossing the border when using an ELD. BigRoad already features current Canadian hours of service rules and DashLink is already available in Canada.

Q. Will the owner operator with non-ECM or mechanical trucks have options?
A. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been made clear in the initial outline of the specs. Provisions for vehicles without an ECM will be covered in the final specification but it could involve having a 3rd-party device installed on your vehicle to keep track of engine operation without having an ECM.

Q. Will the mandate require a recording device connected to the truck or will it just be a requirement to log electronically like we already do with the BigRoad app?
A. The mandate requires that an ELD is connected to the engine. BigRoad DashLink turns the app into an engine-connected device. Another part of the ELD specification says that drivers will also have to carry a backup, such as paper logs.

Q. What is DashLink? Is it an ELD?
A. BigRoad DashLink is a automatic on-board recording device that is compliant with U.S. AOBRD (395.15) and Canadian Electronic Recording Device (SOR/2005-313) regulations. The DashLink device is plugged into the vehicle's diagnostic port and communicates wirelessly with the BigRoad mobile app so you can use it in an engine-connected mode. DashLink is ELD-ready, meaning when the final specification is published, we will ensure that DashLink meets these specifications by providing an upgrade to existing users.

Q. Are we still going to be able to edit logs the same as we have in all the past years after the DashLink gets installed to trucks?
A. You will not be able to edit any of your drive time with DashLink installed and once you sign your logs, you will not be able to edit your log at all. Only a supervisor will be able to amend your logs once the log has been signed. This is a requirement of current AOBRD regulations. Once a log has been edited, the original copy and the new edited copy will be stored online.

Once the new ELD rules come into effect, this situation will change slightly. Under the proposed rules, a driver remains responsible for all log edits and must approve edits that are suggested by a supervisor.

Q. When will we have DashLink in Canada?
A. DashLink is already available in Canada. The BigRoad app with a DashLink device complies with the requirements for Electronic Recording Devices as outlined in Section 83 of the Canadian federal hours of service regulations (SOR/2005-313).

Q. Does BigRoad require the driver to have access to a printer?
A. If you are using the BigRoad app as a replacement for paper logs, then we recommend you also have a printer. Although using the app alone is a legal way for logs to be created and inspected, there are provisions in the law that allow inspectors to demand a printout of your logs. If you are using BigRoad DashLink, this is an engine-connected solution so there is no need for a printer.

Q. What type of printer can be used with a Android or iPhone app?
A. With Android, we recommend a Bluetooth printer. These days, most printers manufacturers should have an free app that allows you to print from an Android device, if not or you have an older printer the PrinterShare app that supports a lot of older Bluetooth printers. For iOS devices, we recommend you use a WiFi Direct or an AirPrint compatible printer.

For more information, see our mobile printer recommendations.

Q. What is the cost to add engine-connected logging to my vehicle?
A. The BigRoad electronic logbook app is free to download for Android and iOS devices. Access to BigRoad’s fleet management tools cost is $15/per month/per user and DashLink costs $10/per month/unit.

Q. Instead of paying $10 per/month extra for DashLink, can we just pay for it with one time flat-rate?
A. We do not recommend that you buy DashLink outright as will not be able to provide you with any updates to the product or supply you with a replacement device. If you really want to pay a one-time flat-fee, please call our customer support team at 1-888-305-8777.

Q. Does BigRoad require a fee to be paid during the months we are not operating?
A. No. BigRoad is one of the most flexible electronic logging solutions available. There are no contracts and you only pay for what you use. This makes it the perfect solution for operations that grow and shrink due to seasonal changes.

Q. If you don't send the logs to an email, are they saved electronically? Do you need to print out days, or weeks, when you are off?
A. BigRoad stores your logs in a central location so you can access your entire history of logs. Just sign into your account at BigRoad.com to access all your logs.

Q. One of our big concerns is with the construction industry and the movement of heavy equipment. What happens if the driver is 30 minutes from the home terminal and is out of available hours for that day? With a permit load, they are not allowed to deviate from the given route. Where is the inclement weather exception in FMCSA?
A. If there are unusual road and traffic conditions that could not be known by the dispatcher at the start of a run these could be classed as adverse driving conditions as per 49 CFR § 395.2. A driver then has an additional 2 hours to safely complete his run as per 49 CFR § 395.1(b).

In general, as long as this type of thing doesn't happen often, you are unlikely to see severe penalties. However, if it is a regular occurance, you will need to re-examine your planning process because systematic violations can lead to bigger problems for your business, even potentential shutdown.

Q. Any suggestions for driveaway operations? We never see the same truck again once it's delivered.
DashLink is a flexible solution that can be easily moved from truck to truck, making it the perfect solution for driveaway operations.

Q. Is the Big Road iPhone app considered a ELD?
A. The app on it’s own is not considered an ELD. An engine connection is one of the proposed requirements that is not expected to change. The final specifications for ELD are set to be published September 30th, 2015.

Q. If a driver is at his destination and he is sitting for a couple of hours in line waiting to get loaded and he decides to take his 1/2 hr break, and then they move up in line, is there a way to continue their break instead of the ELD putting them back in service driving?
A. This may be covered by yard move provisions in the final ELD specification. However, it is likely that yard moves will only allow the driver to be placed into on-duty status. Technically speaking, the 1/2 hr break is required to be taken off-duty and the best way to show that you were actually off-duty is to take the entire break outside the vehicle or in the sleeper berth.

Q. I am currently using and paying for the BigRoad service and love it. I’m a owner/operator, will I be held to the same requirements?
A. Yes. The ELD mandate affects all drivers that are required to keep driver logs, also known as Record of Duty Status (RODS). There are no changes to hours of service rules and exemptions.

Under the current regulations, if you are an operator owner with your own authority, you have more flexibility than other drivers because you are able to amend them online yourself (you are your own supervisor). This is not likely to be an issue with the new ELD rules due to the increased authority of all drivers over edits to their logs.

Q. We are with T-mobile with our BigRoad account. Why do we sometimes lose internet connection?
A. You may lose internet connection if the signal is weak. This may be because you are out of an area with coverage or in a black spot that’s preventing a signal getting to your device. Use this tool to check T-Mobile coverage.

Q. We have a 50 ft trailer that another company picks up to take to another state sometimes. Is this something that our company needs to keep up with or would the other company keep up with the logs?
A. Whoever is driving and picking up the trailer, and their employer, are responsible for keeping logs.

Q. Does BigRoad provide GPS Tracking?
A. Yes. BigRoad uses the GPS in your mobile device to track your route and automatically enter in you location at each duty status change.

Q. Is there ever going to be a Windows version of BigRoad?
A. The BigRoad app is currently available for Android and iOS devices and the web app runs on any computer. If you are interested in a BigRoad app for BlackBerry or Windows phone, you can request it by completing this form. If there is enough demand, we will make it available.

Q. Is DashLink GPS or Cellular?
A. The BigRoad app uses both GPS and cellular data. DashLink connects to the diagnostic port of a vehicle and uses Bluetooth to communicate data from from your vehicle’s data bus to the BigRoad app. It uses GPS to pinpoint your location for duty status changes and trip logs, and cellular to communicate all of this back to a web browser running in the office.

Q. What trend in safer score improvement have you experienced? Have your clients tracked improved profit and shared that with you? If so, what have been the results?
A. Several of our customers have reported improvements to safty scores and consider BigRoad to give a very good return on investment.

Please read our customer stories to learn more about how BigRoad has improved their businesses.

Q. When updates happen are you guys likely to keep it working on the current build of the Android system, or will some features only be available to a newer build, KitKat or above for example?
A. BigRoad currently runs Android version 2.3.3 or higher, on either a phone or tablet. There are no features that are specific to one version of Android. As older versions of the Android operating system are phased out in the field, we will drop support for them, but not until an overwhelming majority of our users have upgraded.

Q. Is DashLink going to be able to work with vehicles with OBDII systems? And if so, when?
A. Yes. DashLink for OBDII is currently in development. We will announce more about its release in the coming months.

Q. Where can I watch a recording of the webinar?
A. You can watch a recording here: Getting Ready for ELD.

Q. Can I get a copy of the presentation?
A. You can find a copy of the slides from the webinar here.

Topics: HOS, ELD

Stuart Wood

Written by Stuart Wood

Stuart Wood is part of the marketing team at BigRoad. In his spare time, he's an avid home brewer.

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