ELD Malfunction Guide- Matrack Incorporation

ELD is an electronic device that can be installed within a vehicle’s OBD II, and can automatically record data in compliance with hours of service rules and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and DOT regulations.

After introducing the ELD mandate, one of the first steps that the FMCSA took was to update the CSA’s Safety Measurement System with 22 ELD related violations and severity weightage. Three of the most serious violations that can lead to a driver being placed out-of-service are:

  1. Not having an ELD
  2. Not having an ELD that is FMCSA-certified
  3. Failing to note malfunction that requires the use of paper log

These violations can be avoided by equipping all commercial motor vehicles with ELD that are not just FMCSA-certified but also compliant. The list that FMCSA has for registered ELD manufacturers requires the device to be self-certified, which could mean that it is not necessarily compliant with its rules and regulation.

Another important thing while working with ELDs is to remember that it is a technology and is susceptible to certain malfunctions. According to FMCSA, using a malfunctioning ELD is a serious breach of its rules.

If you are using an ELD, this is what you need to do in case of malfunctions:

  1. As soon as a malfunction in the ELD is identified, a driver is required to intimate the motor carrier within 24 hours with a written notice.
  2. Recreate RODS (record of duty status) for the current 24-hour period, as well as for a period of past 7 (consecutive) days.
  3. The driver can record or retrieve the RODS from ELD. In case this is impossible, the driver is required to record the RODS on graph grid paper logs in compliance with 49 CFR 395.8.
  4. Keep recording RODS manually using graph grid paper logs until the ELD is repaired, replaced, or ready for compliance.
  5. Once the motor carrier is informed of the malfunction, the ELD must be serviced, repaired or replaced within 8 days of notification.
  6. Ensure that the driver is keeping a record of RODS in graph grid paper logs.

Even ELD vendors are subject to strict guidelines and timelines as laid down by the FMCSA. If the malfunction cannot be easily repaired, and ELD vendor may be removed from the list of registered manufacturers. However, once the vendor has fixed the fault, they can re-apply for FMCSA-certified status.

When ELD malfunctions, and it cannot be properly serviced, repaired or replaced, the motor carrier and driver are required to file for an extension. However, if the malfunction cannot be fixed at all, the motor carriers are at risk of completely replacing their ELD vendor with a new one. With Matrack Incorporation, you can avoid being in such a situation. Our ELD is not only FMCSA certified but also technologically advanced. Before it is introduced to the market, every device we make is checked thoroughly and repeatedly.

In the rare case, if any one of our devices does malfunction, we can assure you that we can resolve it within 5-8 days. We also have a malfunction guide in which drivers can provide the DOT officer in case of ELD malfunction.

You can download the Matrack ELD malfunction manual here.

A Comprehensive Guide To ELD Mandate

Ever since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced the ELD mandate in December 2015, the trucking industry has been busy understanding the ELD News, technology, its uses, and its implications. According to the mandate, all carriers were required to install ELD by the end of 2017, with a few exceptions. Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) that have AOBRD are required to shift to ELD technology by the end of 2019.

Even though a lot has been documented and explained about the electronic logging device (ELD), several owner-operators and drivers are still in confusion. It is important to understand the ELD update and its significance as there hasn’t been a regulation that could cause a nation-wide effect as this one. One of the major reasons behind this humongous effect is the fact trucking is one of the most common jobs in all the states.

Matrack Incorporation has therefore created this guide to give all necessary information about ELDs in one place. This guide will help you understand the technology, its uses, features, and its benefits for your company. Here is what will help you:

  • What is ELD and how it works?
  • ELD Mandate – A history
  • Enforcement of ELD
  • ELD violations
  • ELD exemptions
  • Choosing the best ELD for your company
  • Benefits of ELD for your company

What is ELD? How does it work?

An ELD or electronic logging device is small hardware that can be easily installed in a vehicle, usually in its OBD II/J1939/J1708 port. It is easy to install, and once integrated with the vehicle’s engine, an ELD can collect and record data whenever the engine is turned on. ELD mandate was introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with the purpose of making a recording of hours of service data authentic and accurate. As the electronic logging device automatically records data, it is more reliable than paper logs.

Many carriers that have been using automatic on-board recording devices, generally known as AOBRDs, have been given an extension in switching to ELD till December 16, 2019.

The only reason ELDs using paper logs, however, were required to make the change by December are replacing the AOBRDs is because they are more advanced, technologically. Also, with a proper fleet management system, ELDs can record a lot more valuable data. AOBRDs can document data regarding the use of engine, speed, mileage, date and time. ELDs that are certified by FMCSA can record all the data that AOBRDs can along with information for power status of the engine, vehicle’s location and engine diagnostic, health and malfunctions.

ELD has two important elements – the hardware device and the software application. The device is installed within the vehicle’s OBD II/J1939/J1708 port, and then it is integrated with the software application, available on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) of choice. The two aspects work together to generate and document data for engine status, hours, idle time, mileage, vehicle movement and vehicle’s location. The hours of service information along with all other required data collected by the ELD can be seen on the screen of the smartphone, tablet or any other wireless device. Also, such data can be shared through email or printouts to the inspection officer, whenever required.

ELD Mandate – a history

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had been conducting various studies and research to understand and identify the threats to driver safety, and ways to make their work environment safer. Following the research, the FMCSA tried to introduce e-logging, which was met with opposition from federal courts. Various groups like Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) also objected to e-logging as they thought it would encroach on driver’s privacy and cause grounds for workplace harassment.

FMCSA wanted to adopt e-logging system as early as 2000. It was believed that electronic system for logging of hours of service would ensure that drivers do not overwork, maintain a healthier lifestyle, and also comply with the DOT rules. The fundamental reason for adopting an electronic system was to decrease the number of accidents involving trucks, as most of these accidents were caused by overworked and fatigued drivers.

Until 2012, FMCSA had a hard time moving ahead with the e-logging system. A breakthrough came when Congress passed MAP-21, a transportation bill that included provision for an ELD mandate to be followed by all commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers. Because of this step, the ELD gained popularity and support from many truck driver associations and other groups. This encouraged many truck drivers to install electronic logging devices in their vehicles.

In December 2015, the ELD mandate was finalized. But it was introduced in the industry in December of 2017 as OOIDA had launched a legal battle against the mandate. However, the mandate found favor in appeal courts as well as the U.S. Supreme court.

Enforcement of ELD Mandate

FMCSA declared that by December 18, 2017, all commercial motor vehicles were necessarily required to install ELD. CMVs using AOBRD were given an extension up to December 16, 2019, to make a switch to ELDs. FMCSA also updated the CSA’s Safety Measurement System with ELD-related violations and corresponding severity weightage. The updated SMS was fully enforced from April 1, 2018, and heavily penalized non-exempt CMVs for non-compliance of the ELD mandate during roadside inspections. Time and again, FMCSA and its officials have emphasized the significance of the mandate and strict adherence to its rules and regulations.

ELD Violations

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration added 22 ELD-related violations to CSA’s Safety Measurement System.

SECTION VIOLATION DESCRIPTION VIOLATION GROUP SEVERITY WEIGHT
395.8A-ELDELD-No record of Duty Status (ELD required)Incomplete/Wrong Log5
395.8A –NON-ELDNo record of Duty Status when one is required (ELD not required)Incomplete/Wrong Log5
395.8A1Not using the appropriate method to record hours of serviceIncomplete/Wrong Log5
395.11GFailing to provide supporting documents in the driver’s possession upon requestFalse Log7
395.20BThe ELD’s display screen cannot be viewed outside of the commercial motor vehicleIncomplete/Wrong Log5
395.22AOperating with a device that is not registered with FMCSAIncomplete/Wrong Log5
395.22GPortable ELD not mounted in a fixed position and visible to driverEOBR-related1
395.22H1Driver failing to maintain ELD user’s manualEOBR-related1
395.22H2Driver failing to maintain ELD instruction sheetEOBR-related1
395.22H3Driver failed to maintain instruction sheet for ELD malfunction reporting requirements  EOBR-related1
395.22H4Driver failed to maintain supply of blank driver’s records of duty status graph-grids  EOBR-related1
395.24C1IDriver failed to make annotations when applicableOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.24C1IIDriver failed to manually add location descriptionOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.24C1IIIDriver failed to add file comment per safety officer’s requestOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.24C2IDriver failed to manually add CMV power unit numberOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.24C2IIDriver failed to manually add the trailer numberOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.24C2IIIDriver failed to manually add shipping document numberOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.28Driver failed to select/deselect or annotate a special driving category or exempt statusOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.30B1Driver failed to certify the accuracy of the information gathered by the ELDOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.30CFailing to follow the prompts from the ELD when editing/adding missing informationOther Log/Form & Manner1
395.32BDriver failed to assume or decline unassigned driving timeIncomplete/Wrong Log5
395.34A1Failing to note malfunction that requires use of paper logIncomplete/Wrong Log5

To know more about ELD-violations, penalties, and ways to avoid them, read ‘A Comprehensive Guide to ELD Violations

ELD Exemptions

Although the ELD mandate applies to almost all commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers, there are a few exemptions. Motor carriers that have AOBRD have an extension up to December 16, 2019, to shift to ELD. There are currently six important exemptions as discussed below:

  1. Vehicles manufactured before 2000: Most vehicles that have been manufactured before the year 2000 do not have an engine control module (ECM), and thus an ELD cannot be installed in such vehicles. However, it was later made clear that the exemption applies to models of the engine rather than the model of the vehicle. So if a vehicle was manufactured before the year 2000 and has an engine that was manufactured in or after 2000, the vehicle will be required to have an ELD and will not be exempted.
  2. Drive-away/tow-away drivers: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration describes a drive-away/tow-away operation as transportation of an empty vehicle (with more than one set of wheels on the surface of the road):
  3. Between different facilities of the manufacturer of the vehicle
  4. Between the facilities of the manufacturer and dealer/buyer
  5. Between dealership and buyer/ lessee
  6. To repair the facility after a major accident or failure of an important vehicle component.
  7. By saddle mount or tow-bar.

Any vehicle that falls under the above-mentioned categories of operation is not required to have an ELD.

  • 100 air-mile radius: The 100-mile radius or ELD short-haul exemption applies to a driver who is allowed to use time records instead of electronic logging device under the following conditions:
  • The driver traveled within a 100-mile radius of the work reporting location.

How many hours can you drive with eld?

  • The driver is released from duty for an 8-10 hour break from the work reporting location within 12 hours.
  • The driver maintains a precise log of hours of service, correctly mentioning the time of start and end of driving a shift in the time records.
  • If the driver travels outside the 100-mile radius boundary, he/she will be required to fill out the paper log for that particular day. But if this happens more than 8 times throughout a period of 30-days, the driver will have to use ELD for further travel.
  • Drivers maintaining RODS (Record of Duty Status) for 8 or fewer days: This exemption is an extension to the 100-mile radius rule. Any commercial vehicle driver who maintains RODS for 8 or fewer days during a period of 30 days is not required to use an electronic logging device. So if a driver doesn’t take long trips regularly is exempted from ELD mandate.
  • Farm Vehicles: Vehicles used on a farm for private transportation of commodities like livestock, machinery, or other supplies are exempt from ELD mandate.
  • 150 Air-mile radius: This is similar to the 100 air-mile radius exemption, but it applies to non-CDL (Commercial driver’s license) drivers as well. If they take a trip within a 150-mile radius of their reporting work location and return to the same location at the end of the driving shift, they are exempt from ELD mandate. However, the driver will be required to use an ELD,
  1. if they drive a vehicle that requires CDL
  2. drive after 14 hours of duty for 5 days in a period of 7 consecutive days, or
  3. drive after 16 hours of duty for 2 days in a period of 7 consecutive days.

Choosing the right ELD for your business:

The most important thing to consider while choosing an ELD provider is to identify the needs of your business. Your ELD solution must not only be FMCSA compliant but also offer safety and help in improving the efficiency of your operations. Here are a few things to consider while selecting an ELD solution:

  1. FMCSA- compliant: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a list of registered ELD manufacturers. However, the criteria to be on the list is for the device to be self-certified, which means that even though it is on the list, it might not be completely in compliance with FMCSA rules and regulations. You would want to select an ELD solution that is completely in compliance with FMCSA in order to avoid violations and penalties.
  2. One ELD for all: Many motor carrier companies have various sizes and types of vehicles – light-duty, bucket or tractor trucks, electric vehicles, and more. For the sake of convenience of operations and ease of use for drivers, it is best to choose an ELD that can be installed for the entire fleet.
  3. Economic and easy to install: For fleets as well as for standalone CMVs, having an electronic logging device that can be easily installed allows saving time, as well as makes it easier to use the same ELD in case a vehicle is replaced. For fleets of any size, implementing ELD solution requires more than just installing them in vehicles – they also need to train their drivers in using them. That is why it is best to choose an ELD which is user-friendly and economic at the same time.
  4. Efficient: There are several ELD solution providers in the industry that offer a host of added functionalities as a part of an all-inclusive fleet management solution. These solutions are valuable in realizing business goals by streamlining operations and the maximum utilization of available resources. For best outcomes and have a greater ROI (Return on Investment) choose an ELD that offers better efficiency.
  5. Compatible Technology and upgrades: As smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices are very commonly used these days, and ELD solution that is compatible with these devices ensures easier operation and understanding for the drivers and well as inspection officers. Also, make sure to choose an electronic logging device service provider that can offer upgraded solutions as and when regulations change in the future.
  6. Customer service and Vendor reputation: However good and technologically advanced an ELD may be, there is always a chance of it malfunctioning or facing any other problems. As drivers are mostly out on the roads, they need customer support round-the-clock for continual documentation of their driving status and avoid violations during an inspection. Choosing a vendor that has been in the industry for longer than others, offers 24/7 valuable customer support, has better reviews from other clients, and has a competitive edge over other service providers is crucial for every motor carrier and driver.
  7. Security: According to the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, it is best to opt for an ELD solution that has secure platforms to avoid hacking and theft of important fleet and vehicle data.

It is important that you thoroughly consider all your requirements and available options of ELD providers in the market before deciding. Several ELD manufacturers offer custom-made solutions to best suit your needs.

Benefits of ELD:

One of the obvious benefits of an ELD is compliance with FMCSA and DOT regulations. However, ELD can benefit a motor carrier in various ways apart from being compliant.

  1. Paperwork: ELD has massively reduced, and in some cases, made it absolutely redundant to maintain paper logs. This not only saves time but is more efficient, accurate and authentic. As most ELD solutions are cloud-based, the records are not required to be physically stored and can be accessed easily at any point of time by authorized users.
  2.  Fuel Management: ELDs when integrated with fleet management applications, provide information regarding idle time and help in planning better route options. This information can be used to reduce fuel wastage and save hundreds of dollars each month.
  3. Vehicle Health: ELDs are installed in a vehicle through the OBD II/J1939/J1708 port, which allows them to generate alerts whenever a fault in the vehicle’s diagnostic is identified. With proper analysis of data hence available, a maintenance plan for vehicles can be created as a preventive measure.
  4. Driver behavior: ELD offers to track driving behavior and records occurrences of hard braking, speeding, and more. Drivers frequently engaging in bad driving can be warned and given proper training. Identification of high-risk drivers in a fleet and providing them with better guidelines can also help in reducing the chances of accidents, as well as increase productivity. Rewarding good drivers can lead to motivation in others to perform well.
  5. Accidents and Liabilities: Often, when a truck or another commercial motor vehicle is involved in an accident, the truck driver is blamed for it. As ELD records data of driving behavior, it can be presented as evidence to prove the case in favor of the driver.
  6. IFTA Calculations: IFTA or International Fuel Tax Agreement is a cooperative initiative taken by 48 U.S. states and 10 provinces in Canada to unify the payment of fuel tax by truck drivers engaging in interjurisdictional travel under a single license. Prior to IFTA, the truck drivers had to apply for a permit as well as report and pay fuel tax to every state they traveled, separately. Most ELDs provide an automated calculation of IFTA, thereby reducing administrative work, and also ensuring that the calculations are accurate.
  7. Insurance: Several insurance companies offer discounted premium rates for vehicles and drivers that use ELD because they make the vehicle safer and easy to track in case of theft or hijacking.
  8. Safety: ELDs can track location, and alert operators and motor carriers in case of an accident, theft or hijacking. Also, as ELDs can monitor driver behavior, it leads to improved road safety and lesser accidents.

ELDs also help in following rules and regulations as laid down by FMCSA, DOT, and other related governing bodies. This can significantly improve CSA score and offer better work opportunities for drivers and carriers.

In conclusion, ELD definitely has revolutionized the trucking industry and improved fleet management. By opting for an ELD solution that is FMCSA-compliant, efficient, economic, and best suited to operational needs, any motor carrier and driver can make their business process more profitable.

Matrack Incorporation has been equipping various commercial vehicles with technologically advanced, easy to install ELD and fleet management solutions. Our experience of over a decade in the trucking industry can be visualized in our constantly upgraded hardware and software applications. We offer solutions that are perfect for any motor carrier and driver. Our USP is round the clock valuable customer service and FMCSA compliant devices and applications. To know more about our services and products, feel free to contact us. We will be delighted to assist you!

A Comprehensive Guide To ELD Violations

In December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the ELD mandate, making it necessary for all commercial motor vehicles (with a few exceptions) to have an electronic logging device. The ELD mandate was introduced to make the recording to Hours of Service data more accurate and authentic, in order to encourage a better and safe work environment for drivers and carriers.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability, also known as CSA is an initiative by FMCSA and has a Safety Measurement System (SMS) that identifies unsafe vehicles, carriers and drivers based on certain predetermined criteria. After the ELD mandate, the FMCSA updated the CSA’s SMS to include ELD violations and weightage for severity. The update lists 22 ELD related violations as a fair warning to drivers and carriers, encouraging them to adhere to rules in order to avoid severe penalties and fines.

A better understanding of the violations and their weightage, their effect on the SMS score will definitely help the drivers and carriers in avoiding them. Matrack Incorporation has created this comprehensive guide to assist drivers and motor carriers with the same. In this guide we will discuss:

  • The updated ELD-related violations
  • Common violations and ways to avoid them
  • Impact of full enforcement ELD-related violations
  • Impact of violations

The updated ELD-related violations

As of April 1, 2018, the updated violations will fall under the Hours of Service Compliance BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) category, and will not be applied retroactively. So ELD violations prior to the enforcement date (April 1, 2018) will not affect the SMS score.

Below is a table that lists all the 22 ELD-related violations, along with the corresponding section, description, violation group, and severity weight.

The above mentioned ELD-related violations are being strictly enforced. Drivers who do not fall under any exemptions, if found violating any of the regulations are being charged with severe penalties. If non-exempt drivers are found driving a commercial motor vehicle without an ELD solution, they are placed out-of-service. They can only resume driving jobs after complying with ELD mandate.

 Apart from the above mentioned violation, here are a few violations that carry a severity weightage of 10 (on a scale of 10):

  • 395.13 (d) – Driver is found driving a CMV after being declared out-of-service for hours of service (HOS) violation(s)
  • 392.3-FPASS – Driver found to be driving passenger-carrying CMV under extreme fatigue
  • 392.3-FPROP – Driver found to be driving property-carrying CMV under extreme fatigue
  • 392.3- I – Driver found driving CMV while impaired by illness or other reason
  • 390.17DT – Driver found driving a CMV while texting
  • 392.4(a) – Driver found driving under influence of drugs and/or has drugs in his possession
  • 390.35B-MED – Driver found driving a CMV under falsified or fraudulent medical certificate

As mentioned in the table above, most violations related to discrepancies in Form and Manner have a lower weightage. These can be avoided by ensuring that all records are in compliance, and the driver diligently follows the ELD instructions.

  • 395.22A – A driver found driving a CMV with a device that’s not registered with FMCSA. This violation falls under Incomplete/wrong log and attracts a severity weightage of 5. The best and the only way to avoid this violation is to ensure that the device you choose for your CMVs is from an FMCSA-approved registered ELD provider. You can see the list here.
  • 395.20B – The ELDs display screen not visible from outside the commercial motor vehicle. This violation has a severity weightage of 5 and is categorized under Incomplete/Wrong log. By ensuring the ELD is mounted in a way so that its screen is visible from outside the vehicle, drivers can avoid this violation. Moreover, tilting the screen and unlocking the device from mounts are allowed. In case the driver is using a portable ELD such as a phone or tablet, using a mount that allows tilting the device to make the screen visible is a good option. Also, in case of portable ELD, the driver is not required to hand over the device to the safety officer.
  • 395.32B – Driver failed to assume or decline unassigned driving time. This violation is again a case of incomplete/wrong log and has a severity weightage of 5. By simply correcting any unassigned driving time as indicated in the ELD interface, this violation can be avoided. Also, it is important that drivers are thoroughly trained in various processes involved in recording data in the ELD.
  • 395.34A1 – Driver fails to keep a paper log in case of ELD malfunction. With a severity weightage of 5, this violation is also considered as an incomplete/wrong log. Drivers can avoid this violation by keeping the guide on ELD diagnostics and malfunction provided by the ELD manufacturer with them at all times. In case the malfunction is repetitive and persists, the driver is required to notify the carrier in writing and keep evidence of the same communication while driving.

Here are a few tips for commercial vehicle drivers as well as carriers that can help them in passing inspections without any major violations.

  1. Knowledge: It has been over a year that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration updated the CSA’s Safety Measurement System list to include several ELD-related violations. Knowing what the violations are like winning half the battle. It helps the drivers and carriers to prepare for inspections. The penalty for not adhering to the rules laid down in ELD mandate is very severe. Not having an ELD, or having an ELD from a manufacturer who is not FMCSA approved are two major discrepancies and can result in the driver being placed out-of-service.
  2. Train the Driver: Although the newer electronic logging devices are an advanced version of the earlier used AOBRDs, they are significantly different. If you have seen the above table that lists all the ELD-related violations, you must have noticed that there are several Form and Manner violations. Most of these occur when a driver fails to enter or select some data manually on the ELD interface. Drivers, therefore, need proper training and education to help them understand its workings. They need time and practice to adjust to the changes in data recording processes. Most violations regarding ELDs occur due to the driver’s lack of knowledge of the system, and his/her failure to correctly input information whenever prompted by the ELD. Few common violations occurring due to the driver’s lack of knowledge are:
  3. 395.11G – Driver fails to provide supporting documents in his/her possession. Weightage severity – 7
  4. 395.32B – Drivers fail to assume or decline unassigned driving time. Weightage severity – 5
  5. 395.34A1 – Driver fails to note malfunction requiring the use of paper logs. Weightage severity- 5
  6. 395.24C1I- Driver failed to make annotations when applicable. Weightage severity – 1
  7. 395.22H2 – Driver failing to maintain ELD instruction sheet. Weightage severity – 1
  8. 395.22H1 – Driver failing to maintain ELD user’s manual. Weightage severity – 1

There are several violations that carry very low severity weight (1 out of 10), however, if neglected, these can accumulate and create major problems in terms of fines, and also affect the CSA score.

  • Notice of exemption: Most commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers are required to follow the ELD mandate and related regulations, there are some drivers who are exempted from it. However, while inspection, such drivers are required to furnish documents supporting their exemption from the ELD rule. Failure to produce evidence of exemption to the safety officer can lead to a violation.
  • Registered ELD: FMCSA maintains a list of approved ELD manufacturers. Drivers and carriers are required to choose an ELD provider from the list to avoid violations. There are more than 200 vendors on the list. As per FMCSA, the criteria for a manufacturer to be on the list is to have a self-certified device. This, however, does not always mean that the devices are FMCSA-compliant. Thus, motor carriers and drivers need to do thorough research before choosing the right ELD manufacturer. Having an ELD solution that does not comply with FMCSA standards can lead to the driver being placed out-of-service for more than 10 hours.

What you need to know about ‘full enforcement’ of updated ELD violations?

ELD mandate became effective in December 2017. However, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) did not enforce the updated violations until April 2018. The period between December 2017 and April 2018 was known as ‘soft enforcement’ and out-of-service criteria were not adopted during this time.

Now that the ELD-related violations and penalties have been in full enforcement, there are few things all commercial motor vehicle drivers need to know.

  • The out-of-service period is for 10 hours. Drivers who are not exempt can be placed in out-of-service for not having an ELD or having an ELD that is not FMCSA compliant. As discussed above, all the ELDs on FMCSA certified list are not necessarily FMCSA compliant, and thus it is crucial to choose a device that meets the required standards.
  • If a driver is found to have falsified logs or records, or any discrepancy is found in driver’s documents, he/she will be placed in out-of-service. Such violations also attract other penalties and fines.
  • A driver who is placed out-of-service is allowed to take delivery of the shipment, after completing the said 10 hours (of out-of-service). However, this is allowed only if the driver has paper logs to show for his travel.
Eld violation blog image
  • If a driver is found driving either without an ELD or with a non-compliant ELD, he/she can get back to work after completion of 10 hours of out-of-service, only after becoming a complaint.
  • In the case of ELD malfunction, a driver is required to get the ELD fixed or replaced within a period of 8 days. Due to any reason, if the ELD cannot be fixed or replaced within 8 days, drivers are required to ask for an extension. Generally, if the malfunctioning ELD is unable to record the hours of service data, an extension is granted to get it repaired or replaced.
  • Drivers are required to carry various documents like:
  • Data transfer manual with proper instructions for drivers about transferring data from the ELD to a safety officer
  • ELD malfunction sheet
  • User guide for ELD
  • Blank graph-grid paper logs, in case they are required
  • Documents as mentioned in FMCSA regulations

How ELD-related violations and penalties affect the motor carrier business?

We have quite broadly discussed the ELD-related violations and the penalties they incur in this guide. And we can clearly conclude that as a driver or motor carrier, you do not want to be on the other side of the law. The penalties and fines enforced due to ELD violations have a much greater impact on your business.

We know now that ELD violations have a huge influence on deciding your CSA score. Avoiding violations and compliance of all FMCSA regulations would mean a good rating. It is a well-known fact that a motor carrier company with a better score is more preferred in the industry, and gets more clients. Even if some violations have a very low weightage, gradually if they accumulate, the CSA score can be negatively affected. The only way to ensure a good score is to be aware, alert, and follow the rules. A bad CSA score would also mean frequent time-consuming roadside inspections.

When drivers are placed out-of-service for being in violation of any ELD-related rule, they are not allowed to drive for a period of 10 hours. It would result in a complete change in their driving schedule, as well as delayed delivery of the shipment they are carrying.

Every time that a drive is placed out-of-service for 10 hours amounts to a loss of approximately $300. With the driver being penalized, the commercial motor vehicle is most likely to be towed, which is an additional loss of $300-$400. The fines for ELD violations can range from $1,000 to $10,000.

ELD violations negatively impact your CSA score, decrease cost-effectiveness of your operations, and also obstruct good business opportunity.

To summarize, in order to run your business smoothly and successfully, it is absolutely crucial that you follow all the rules and regulations surrounding ELD.  And the easiest way to avoid violations and other complications is to have an FMCSA complaint ELD solution.

If you are looking for electronic logging device and solutions to best suit your business, you must get in touch with Matrack Incorporation. We have been serving the industry with affordable, convenient, and advanced solutions for over a decade.

Matrack Incorporation has designed an FMCSA-approved ELD – MA-ELD Classic The device is easy to install and comes with a host of features that make it easy to record data regarding HOS, speed violations, fuel management, and vehicle maintenance. Apart from ELD compliance and HOS logs, some of the features of MA-ELD Classic include – real-time tracking, idle time tracking, violation alerts, engine temperature status, and IFTA tax filing. If you want to know more about the products and services of Matrack Incorporation, contact here.

Everything You Need To Know About ELD Roadside Inspection

With the ELD mandate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made a recording of data more accurate and easier. Through the electronic logging device, FMCSA can also ensure that the rules of hours of service are being diligently followed by the drivers as well as carriers. As most information that an ELD collects is automatic, the chances of data being manipulated are absolutely impossible.

As the ELD technology is new, it is important for motor carriers to train their drivers, especially when it comes to roadside inspection. According to a report ‘Roadcheck Inspection’ published by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in 2017, a 72-hour inspection raid was conducted, which resulted in service termination for 19.4% commercial vehicles and 4.2% commercial drivers. The major reason for these numbers is probably the lack of awareness amongst motor carriers and drivers about roadside inspection procedures related to ELD.

In order to decrease the number of commercial drivers and commercial vehicles being placed out-of-service and further avoid violations of FMCSA and DOT regulations, Matrack has created this guide to help you understand the roadside inspection procedure. In this guide, we will be comprehensively discussing all the steps involved in the inspection, how to pass them, and the overall benefits of ELD for drivers and motor carriers.

 8-Levels of Roadside Inspection:

The roadside inspections are conducted by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspectors. Most commercial drivers and carriers know about 7 different types of roadside inspection. However, there is one new type of inspection – a digital one, which we will be discussing here together with all the others.

All the levels of inspection are not generally conducted in any particular order. A few of these are quite lengthy, while others not so much. However all the levels or types are equally important, and therefore a thorough knowledge of each will help commercial drivers and motor carriers in avoiding violations and penalties.

#1 – North American Standard Inspection – Overall Check

The roadside North American Standard Inspection is one of the most comprehensive ones of all inspection levels.

The CVSA inspector follows a 37-step procedure under this level to thoroughly review the commercial driver as well as the vehicle. Here are the steps involved:

  1. The inspector chooses a site for inspection
  2. Then the inspector will approach the vehicle
  3. The inspector will greet the driver and prepare him/her for the inspection
  4. The first step of the inspection is to interview the driver
  5. Collect the driver’s documents
  6. Check the vehicle for the presence of any hazardous or dangerous material and goods
  7. Identification of the carrier
  8. Check Driver’s license or/and CDL
  9. Examine Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certification (if required)
  10. Checks RODS (Records of Duty Status)
  11. Examine Driver’s Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (if applicable)
  12. Check Periodic Inspection Report
  13. Inform and get the driver prepared for the Vehicle Inspection
  14. Inspect the front of the tractor
  15. Inspect Left front side of the tractor
  16. Inspect Left Saddle Tank Area
  17. Inspect the front of the trailer
  18. Inspect Left rear tractor area
  19. Inspect Left side of the trailer
  20. Inspect Left Rear trailer wheels
  21. Inspect rear of the trailer
  22. Inspect Double, triple and full trailers
  23. Inspect Right Rear trailer wheels
  24. Inspect right side of the trailer
  25. Inspect Right rear tractor area
  26. Inspect right saddle tank area
  27. Inspect right front side of the tractor
  28. Inspect Steering Axle(s)
  29. Inspect Axle(s) 2 and/or 3
  30. Inspect Axle(s) 4 and/or 5
  31. Prepare the vehicle and check brake adjustments
  32. Inspect tractor protection system
  33. Inspect brake system warning devices
  34. Test Air loss Rate
  35. Check Steering Wheel Lash
  36. Check the Fifth Wheel Movement
  37. Complete the Inspection

Apart from the above-mentioned steps, the inspector might check for other things like seatbelt usage, prohibited drug or alcohol usage by the driver, hours of compliance, and any other safety regulations.

#2 – North American Standard inspection – Driver and vehicle inspection

This is level 2 of the inspection, wherein the safety officer generally walks around the vehicle or talks to the driver to inspect the following:

  1. Commercial Driver’s License
  2. Medical examiner’s certificate
  3. Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate, if required
  4. Alcohol and Drug test
  5. Seatbelt
  6. Driver’s Hours of Service (HOS)
  7. Driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS)
  8. Brake System
  9. Windshield Wipers
  10. Suspension
  11. Tires
  12. Rims and Hubs
  13. Exhaust System
  14. Coupling Devices
  15. Driveshaft
  16. Wheels
  17. Van and open-top trailer
  18. Headlamps, tail lamps, turn signals, stop lamps, and other lighting devices
  19. Fuel Systems
  20. Frames
  21. Cargo Securement
  22. Steering mechanisms

Level 2 of the roadside inspection essentially requires the safety inspector to do a thorough check of the above, without having to go under the vehicle. During this level of inspection, the safety officer tries to do a closer examination of the vehicle/driver.

#3 – North American Standard inspection – Driver documents and credentials

Under the level 3 of the North American Standard Inspection, there are certain driver documents and credentials listed. The safety inspector is required to examine these credentials. It is important to note that if a document is not listed under this inspection, it cannot be considered to be examined as a Level 3 inspection.

As applicable or required, the safety inspector examines the following:

  1. CDL or commercial driver’s license
  2. Certificate by the Medical Examiner (if applicable)
  3. Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)
  4. Driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS)
  5. Hours of Service
  6. Seatbelt Usage
  7. Vehicle Inspection Report (if Applicable)

#4 – North American Standard inspection – Special Roadside Inspection

After having done all the examinations in the level 1, 2, and 3, if the safety inspector does a special one-time inspection in the following cases:

  1. Earlier inspections have risen a doubt about any particular vehicle part or any driver documentation
  2. To rule out any particular discrepancy or chances of regulation violation

Level 4 of the roadside inspection is different from earlier levels, as it requires a re-check or re-examination to either confirm or deny the possibility of an inconsistency. It does involve checking the entire vehicle or conducting another driver inspection.

#5 – North American Standard inspection – Vehicle only Inspection

Level 5 of the roadside inspection involves all the inspections as listed under level 1. The only difference between the two is that for level 5 inspection, the driver is not required to be physically present. Also, the inspection can take place at any location, as decided by the safety officer.

#6 – North American Standard inspection – Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRQC) of Radioactive Material

This level of inspection is done to ensure that any commercial motor vehicle transporting radioactive material follows the specified regulation for storage and quantity of the same. Unless a commercial motor vehicle is carrying spent-fuel, high-level radioactive waste or any other transuranic waste, it is not required to be subjected to level 6 of roadside inspection.

#7 Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection

The jurisdictional mandated commercial vehicle inspection applies to the following:

  1. School buses
  2. Hotel provided shuttles
  3. Shared-ride transportation
  4. Intrastate/intra-provincial operations

Under this level, a CVSA safety officer can inspect any vehicle falling under the above-mentioned criteria, even if other levels of inspections are not applicable to the said commercial vehicle. Also, apart from CVSA certified inspector, Level 7 inspections can also be conducted by any jurisdiction-approved contractors or designated government employees.

#8 – North American Standard Electronic Inspection

Level 8 of the roadside inspection is a new addition to the list, given the increasing use of digital media by commercial motor vehicles and drivers. One of the most unique features of this inspection is that it is conducted wirelessly or electronically, without direct communication with the safety office. The inspection is conducted while the vehicle is on the move.      

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has listed down certain points for a commercial vehicle to qualify for this inspection, and the following data has to be sent to the safety officer, wirelessly or electronically:

  1. GPS coordinates, along with a description of the location
  2. Electronic validation of the vehicle’s operator
  3. License status
  4. Driver’s license class and endorsement for the vehicle being operated
  5. Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certification
  6. Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  7. Records of Duty Status (RODS) of current driver
  8. Hours of Service Compliance
  9. USDOT number
  10. Power Unit Registration
  11. Operating Authority
  12. Unified Carrier Registration compliance
  13.  Federal out-of-service orders (If any)

Several separate authorities and research groups have conducted various studies to analyze the kind of violations that are common to be found during a roadside inspection. The information provided through these studies can prove to be helpful for commercial drivers and carriers in avoiding violations and penalties.

  1. Level 1 is the most common Inspections: As level 1 of the roadside inspection involves a very comprehensive examination of the vehicle and the driver, it is more favored by the safety officers. Also, the type of cargo a vehicle is carrying is also determined how frequently it will get inspected. According to researchers, vehicles engaged in drive-away/tow-away operations and vehicles carrying fresh produce are more likely to be stopped for Level 1 inspection. While on the other hand, vehicles carrying livestock or coal/coke are less likely to be stopped for an inspection. Based on the type of cargo you are carrying, it is best to be prepared for a roadside inspection.
  2. Common Violations: Most common violations as found during inspections are the ones related to the vehicle. Some of the major violations were:
  3. All mandatory lamps should be capable of being operated at all times
  4. Parts and accessories must be in safe and proper operating condition at all times.
  5. Every commercial motor vehicle must be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated.
  6. The motor vehicle should be free of oil and grease leaks.
  7. The pushrod stroke must not be greater than the values specified.

Next time you head to the road, make sure that you are operating in permitted area, and all your vehicle parts are in working condition.

  • State-wise HOS violations: Various states in the US have stricter rules and regulations when it comes to Hours of Service. Independent researchers have indicated that states of Connecticut, Idaho, and Louisiana are stricter, have a very high (above 80%) rate of HOS violations. Similarly, the states of Mississippi, South Dakota, and Massachusetts have a comparatively lower rate (about 30%) of HOS violations. Therefore, before you drive interstate, it is best to read up on various regulations and norms followed by the states you will be traveling in order to avoid violations.

How ELD can help in envading or avoiding vehicle as well as driver-related violations in roadside inspection?

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted a 72-hour long roadside inspection, with a major focus on cargo securement. During this period, a total of 40,994 inspections were held, resulting in 19.4 % commercial motor vehicles and 4.7% drivers being placed ‘out-of-service’ in relation to various violations. The majority of inspections conducted were Level 1, 2 and 3. One of the common reason for vehicle-related violation were connected to brake systems, while driver-related violations were connected to HOS data.

The major two violations – brake system and Hours of service – could have been easily avoided through the help of the Electronic Logging System (ELD). As you already know, the ELD mandate was brought into effect to make a recording of HOS data more accurate. ELDs record Hours of Service data automatically, and also prompts the driver and operator in case there is a chance of violation in the future, thereby allowing them to take necessary steps and avoid the same.

Most ELDs these days come equipped with vehicle diagnostics. It helps in alerting the driver and carrier if the vehicle or any part of it requires repair or restoration. This feature will definitely help in maintaining the brake system of the vehicle, thus helping in avoid related violations. Through vehicle diagnostic reports provided by the electronic logging device, motor carriers and drivers can ensure that the vehicle is in good health, and plan a better maintenance schedule for the same.

Another violation that has reduced drastically after the use of ELDs is the Form and Manner violation, as the ELD automatically records date, time, driver status, duty status, and can also carry forward the information to the next day, for the same vehicle but different drivers. ELD also records driving status and truck stops, as well as prompts the driver to indicate whether the on-duty status stop is for loading or fueling and whether off-duty status is for a break or sleeper berth. This ensures that all changes in driving status and their nature is correctly documented, without leaving a chance for any kind of discrepancies. As the ELD records are authentic and accurate, the chances and number of violations of any FMCSA and DOT regulation are inevitably decreased. This offers the drivers and carriers a huge relief, and allows them to pay more attention to better planning and driving, and improves the overall fleet management.  

How to pass the roadside inspection successfully?

To pass a roadside inspection successfully, a driver needs a good understanding of the inspection process as well as proper training and knowledge of his own vehicle and other related systems.  Once a driver knows how an ELD works, where he can find all the necessary information, keeps his/her work organized, and follows safe driving rules, he/she does not need to worry about the inspection at all. In short, here are a few things a driver must do to avoid violations in an inspection:

  1. Keep all required documents organized and updated
  2. Know the type of cargo you are carrying and any rules related to the same
  3. Maintain the vehicle periodically
  4. Repair and replace any faulty part of the vehicle
  5. Avoid the intake of alcohol and drugs during duty hours
  6. Understand the driving window and driving time, break and sleeper time
  7. Plan your route to make the best of your driving time
  8. Follow Hours of Service rules
  9. Drive safely.

As per the ELD mandate, the last day to switch to the new technology is December 16th 2019. If you haven’t made the switch yet, now is a good time. ELDs are upgraded versions of the old ABORD, and require proper training to use them effectively. ELD, together with fleet management systems, can be very beneficial for your business.

Matrack Incorporation has a comprehensive, easy-to-use and advanced ELD and Fleet management system, which can help you in streamlining your business and make the most of your available resources. We created this guide to help you with using ELDs during a roadside inspection. We have been serving the industry with compatible, convenient and effective solutions for over a decade. We assure you the best customer service, at a very competitive rate. If you need more information on ELDs and Fleet management services, feel free to contact us.