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The Electronic Logging Device and Truckers in Washington State

Nov 16, 2017

In late 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule applying to most truckers nationwide. This rule requires truckers required to record records of duty status (RODS) to use an electronic logging device (ELD), approved by the Administration, to record their logs.

These logs focus on the hours of service drivers work. Your Tacoma driving school instructor will go through these requirements thoroughly with you, but most truckers are subject to the following limitations on hours of service:

  • No more than 11 hours of driving following at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • May not drive after the 14th consecutive hour of coming on duty after the 10-hour off-duty time—breaks do not extend this.
  • Driving is permitted only if 8 hours or less have passed since the last sleeper-berth period of 30 minutes or more, or since the last 10-hour off duty period.
  • Driving more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days is prohibited—the driver may drive again after rest period of 34 or more consecutive hours.
  • Drivers using a sleeper berth must take 8 consecutive hours in the berth plus 2 additional consecutive hours in the berth, off-duty, or a combination of the two.

The rules are intended to promote road safety, and traditionally drivers have logged these hours on paper log-books.


The ELD Mandate

Truckers are currently required to use Electronic Logging Devices by December 18, 2017. Many drivers and companies have already started using them, and their use will be part of any training at a quality CDL training program in Tacoma.

The regulations determine the specifications for eligible ELDs. ELD manufacturers self-certify the compliance of their devices, and the FMCSA maintains a list of approved devices. Devices may be separate components, or installed as apps on smart phones.

Each driver may have only one account with a carrier, including a unique identification number and password. Owner/operators must use two accounts, one as driver and the other as administrator.

ELDs record total driving time as well as on-duty/non-driving time, and approved ELDs must also give a warning to allow the driver to stop and begin logging time. It is connected with the engine and GPS to determine movement of the truck.

ELDs record duty status in four categories:

  • Driving—this becomes the status automatically once the vehicle is moving, and must begin at or below 5 mph.
  • On-duty/Not Driving—when the truck remains immobile for more than 5 minutes, the ELD prompts the driver to confirm driving or enter the proper status.
  • Off-duty—the driver must indicate off-duty status.
  • Sleeper-berth—the driver enters sleeper berth time manual.

Protections from Harassment

One key provision of the ELD rule is its protection from harassment.Carriers are not allowed to harass drivers, by requiring them to violate the hours of service provisions. Drivers are protected if they make complaints. The rule also requires that the ELD have a mute function to ensure sleeper berth time is not interrupted; the devices must also have anti-tampering features.

The ELD record may be edited, but the driver and carrier have only limited abilities to edit it. Even when edited, however, the original information is preserved, protecting drivers from being harassed into violating the hours of service.

Real-time tracking of trucks is not required by the rule. Carriers may, however, may use devices to track their vehicles in real time, but this information may not be used to harass or coerce drivers. Real-time tracking may be used for business purposes otherwise. Your Tacoma CDL driving school will help you become proficient in logging and ELDs as part of your training.

Changing the Data

A driver has a limited ability to change the information in an ELD. A change in this information is called an “edit”. Each edit must be accompanied by an annotation, explaining the change. The carrier may also make these edits and annotations.

One example of an edit would be changing “Sleeping Berth” to “Off duty”—a driver might be accustomed to berth time, but stay one night in a motel. That edit would be annotated appropriately.

Because the ELD records all time while the truck is in motion, editing the record to change driving time to non-driving time. Any edits and annotations must be certified by the driver that any changes made by the carrier are accurate. The identity of the person making any edits and annotations must be recorded in the ELD.

Data Recorded

Each ELD records a variety of data at set intervals. The date, time, location, engine hours and vehicle miles all provide the log, and this information is connected with the driver’s information, which includes the vehicle and motor carrier.The ELDs may not be set to record using “minimum duty status durations”, such as 15 minutes, which had been the practice with paper logs. Because ELDs can record and compute much finer periods of time, this practice no longer applies.Location data is recorded by the ELD at specific times. The information is recorded when the engine is started and stopped, changes duty status, notes personal use and yard moves. In addition, the ELD records location at 60-minute intervals while in motion.

Your Training

As a new trucker, you will not have to work through a transition period to get used to the ELD. Your CDL training in Tacoma will thoroughly cover the needs for logging and the information required, as well as the use of the ELDs.The ELD mandate is meant to help keep drivers safe while they are behind the wheel, by providing more accurate and complete driving information.