The Value in Understanding Your ELD

Busy Highway

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Office of Enforcement Director Joe DeLorenzo said one of the most common issues the agency sees arise during roadside inspections of drivers’ hours of service via electronic logging devices is a basic unfamiliarity with the devices and how they work. That is true from both driver and law enforcement perspectives, he said.

He added that the more drivers know about the devices they are using, "the better off that inspection will go."

Kerri Wirachowsky, director of roadside inspection programs for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said drivers need to know if they have an ELD or an automatic onboard recording device as the transfer mechanism that transmits the data to officers is completely different.

The two devices can look and feel the same. What’s more, some devices can operate in either AOBRD or ELD mode, which can further complicate the roadside inspection process," DeLorenzo said. "Making sure your drivers know what they have [or what mode they’re using] is one of the most important things you can do to make sure the inspection goes well," he added.

Wirachowsky said in addition to knowing what type of device they have, they need to have instructions and understand how to transmit or download files. She added that it is impossible for inspectors to know how to operate every device that is on the market.

"There is no question that coming up to a truck and having the ability to look at 250 different devices is a struggle. They are doing their best to learn them all," Wirachowsky said.

DeLorenzo said FMCSA recognizes those devices may not always transfer information effectively, and added that law enforcement can check logs on the physical device itself or request direct email or another method of direct transfer.

Drivers also must keep supporting documents in the truck, Wirachowsky said. "Know what they are, put everything in your trip envelope and give them to the inspector," she said, adding that such items may include bills of lading or fuel receipts.