Back in 2012, the US Congress authorized the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill which is also known as MAP-21. Alongside the plans for highway funding included in the law, it also required to develop a rule mandating the usage of electronic logging devices (ELD). The ELD rule officially became a law on Feb. 16, 2016. For vehicles equipped with an AORBD, these had to be upgraded or replaced to meet full ELD status by Dec. 16, 2019. It has seen quite a lot of controversy over the years, but now that ELD is in full effect in the US trucking industry, let’s get to know and understand it better!
ELD devices are designed to record the data that showcases a number of hours driver works and rests each day to make sure they are compliant with government regulations. The driver information that mainly concerns hours of service that commercial truckers are restricted to is placed on a permanent record of driving hours, on-duty hours and rest time, over the course of a trip.
Originally, it was the paper logbooks that were used which then got replaced by an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD).
Today, the ELD is a replacement for both, that is now passed its deadline and is fully implemented throughout the US trucking industry.
So, how does the ELD work? First, the application software is installed either on a portable device like a phone and tablet or on a hard-wired in-cab dash-mounted device.
Then, the ELD synchronizes with the engine of the vehicle which allows for an automatic recording of duty status once the ignition is turned on. The device starts recording the driving time when the truck speed goes over 5mph.
Once the vehicle stops, the status can be changed to non-driving or on-duty depending on the driver’s actions taken next, whether he is fueling, loading, unloading or taking a break and sleeping.
The introduction of ELDs into the US Trucking Industry was led by multiple reasons that raised concerns and needed solutions. When the driver becomes tired and sleepy, it causes major accidents and draws great attention from media and lawmakers.
Wanting to ensure the drivers don’t exceed restricted driving hours and questioning the accuracy of paper logs were one of the main reasons that led to introducing ELD.
In general, the safer work environment for drivers, faster and more accurate tracking, managing and shared data is the aim of ELD to excel at.
Rarely comes an innovation without some kind of issues and challenges. And ELD has already experienced it multiple times. From online anti-ELD petitions to being upheld in court for driver privacy concerns to software malfunction – that’s just a small part of a bigger issue picture that still goes on.
However, while the ELD still needs great improvements and solutions, the benefits of it can’t be overlooked either. Whether its more miles on the road that leads to more money, better communication with a home office or simply reduced headache from paperwork and beyond.
The US trucking industry, truck drivers and ELD still have a long way to go to form a trustworthy bond, and it all starts now!