How to Deal with ELD Device Compliance, Electronic Logs, and Inspections


170316_susancollins_shutterstock_50164954

At Truckstop.com, we get a lot of questions about how the new ELD compliance rule will affect vehicle driving inspections. Learn how to stay on the road and out of the hot seat.

In this, the second of a three-part question and answer series, Truckstop.com Director of Industry Relations Susan Collins talks with Thomas E. Bray, lead transportation editor for  J. J. Keller & Associates Inc., concerning the impending ELD rule, which becomes mandatory in December. Read Part 1 here.

When using an electronic log, who is responsible for getting the log pages to display during a roadside inspection?
The driver is. Officers may ask for the device, along with any necessary instructions, and display the logs, but it‘s technically the driver’s responsibility. If the driver can’t (or won’t) display the logs for the officer, the officer will write the driver up for either not having logs or not being trained on how to use the logging device (or both).

If using electronic logs, do I have to be able to print them off during a roadside inspection?
It depends on what type of “electronic log” you are using. If it’s an app on a cell phone, tablet, or laptop that is NOT connected to the vehicle to automatically determine when the driver is driving (in other words not an AOBRD or ELD), then you must be able to print the logs on demand. If the device is part of a compliant AOBRD or ELD system, then all you need to do is display the records for the officer. If the officer wants a “hard copy” of the logs, and the device is an AOBRD, the company or driver has to provide them to the officer as soon as possible, but always within 48 hours. If the device is part of an ELD system, the driver will need to use the “telemetric” or “local” transfer method to immediately forward the records to the officer.

If using an AOBRD or ELD, what does the driver need to have in the vehicle with him/her?
If using an AOBRD, the driver needs to have instructions so an officer can access the logs, along with enough blank logs to complete the current trip (if the device fails). If the device is an ELD, the driver will need to have a user’s manual, instructions on how to initiate the transfer of logs to an officer, a card explaining the malfunction codes, and at least eight blank logs.

What happens if the driver’s AOBRD or ELD fails?
The driver needs to be able to display today and the previous 7 days’ log upon demand. If the system fails and cannot display logs, the driver will need to immediately reconstruct the current day and previous 7 days on paper logs. However, if the system has some logs available or the company can forward some of the logs to the driver, the driver would only have to reconstruct the days the system could not provide records for. Just a word of warning: The driver getting any previous logs from the company and completing the reconstruction of paper logs must provide these immediately after the device fails, not during a roadside inspection. If the driver doesn’t have the required logs when requested, it’s a violation, even if the driver can get logs sent to him/her and reconstruct any missing logs at the inspection site.

If the driver doesn’t have the required logs when requested, it’s a violation, even if the driver can get logs sent to him/her and reconstruct any missing logs at the inspection site.

The next area we receive a lot of questions regards driver vehicle inspections. Which inspection must be recorded as “on-duty time” on a driver’s log?
The regulations do not specify whether the pretrip or post-trip inspection must be logged on duty. What the regulations require is that the driver logs all time spent “servicing the vehicle” as on-duty time. If the driver is using a paper log and the activity takes less than 15 minutes, the driver is to place a “flag” at the time involved and place a brief explanation on the flag (such as “Pretrip 10 minutes, Albuquerque, NM). If the activity took 15 minutes or more, the driver is required to show at least 15 minutes of on-duty time on the log. However, there is the issue of “believability.” If the driver shows that it took 5 minutes to conduct a full pretrip or post-trip, this will cause an auditor or investigator to question either the accuracy of the log or the driver’s inspection practices. To address this, many carriers require that the driver take at least 15 minutes to do one of the daily inspections, and allow the other one to be logged at less than 15 minutes. As the documentation requirement (the DVIR requirement) is tied to the post-trip, most carriers require their drivers to log this requirement as on-duty time.

What paperwork is needed to prove that a defect discovered during a roadside inspection was corrected, and where should the paperwork be kept?
If the officer wrote up a violation on the roadside inspection report, but the defect wasn’t serious enough to warrant an out-of-service order, the defect can either be repaired during the driver’s workday or as part of the DVIR cycle at the end of the day. If the defect was taken care of during the workday, documentation showing the repaired defect needs to be generated. If the repair wasn’t done during the driver’s workday, the driver would need to complete and submit a DVIR at the end of the workday showing the defect. The carrier would then have to document the repair through the DVIR process before the vehicle is operated again (signing on the DVIR that the repair was completed and having the next driver sign the DVIR to verify the repairs were done). As far as filing the documentation, as long as the repair documentation or the DVIR can be cross-referenced to the inspection report, no special recordkeeping is required. However, if this isn’t possible, it’s best to attach a copy of either the repair documentation or the DVIR to the roadside inspection report.


Thomas E. Bray is the Lead Transportation Editor for J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. in Neenah, WI.