ELD Compliance, Electronic Logs, & Inspections

Are you curious how Electronic Logging Device (ELD) compliance affects the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Roadside Inspections? Learn more about how to stay on the road and out of the hot seat.

Who is responsible for displaying e-logs during a roadside inspection?

The driver is responsible to displaying electronic logs (e-logs) during an inspection. Officers may ask for the device and instructions to display the logs, but it‘s technically the driver’s responsibility. If the driver can’t (or won’t) display the logs, the officer will write the driver up for not having logs, not being trained on how to use the device, or both.

Do I need to print e-logs during a roadside inspection?

It depends on the type of e-logs that are being used. If it’s an app on a mobile device NOT connected to the vehicle that automatically determines when a driver is driving, meaning it’s not an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) or ELD, then you must be able to print logs on demand. If the device is part of a compliant AOBRD or ELD system, you just need to display the records for the officer. If the officer wants a hard copy of the logs and the device is an AOBRD, the company and/or driver has to provide them as soon as possible – always within 48 hours. If the device is part of an ELD system, the driver must use the “telemetric” or “local” transfer method to immediately forward records to the officer.

Note, AOBRDs must be converted to ELDs by Dec. 16, 2019.
What should I carry in the vehicle if using an AOBRD or ELD?

If using an AOBRD, the driver must have instructions so an officer can access the logs, along with enough blank logs to complete the current trip, should the device fail. If using an ELD, the driver must have a user’s manual, instructions on transferring logs to an officer, a card explaining the malfunction codes, and at least eight blank logs.

What happens if an AOBRD or ELD fails?

The driver needs to display the current day and logs from the previous seven days upon demand. If the system fails and cannot display logs, the driver will need to immediately reconstruct the current day and previous seven 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. Please note, the driver requesting 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 them and reconstruct any missing logs at the inspection site.

What vehicle inspections must be recorded as “on-duty time” on a driver’s log?

The regulations don’t specify whether the pre-trip or post-trip inspection must be logged as on-duty time. The regulations require 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 should place a “flag” at the time involved and include a brief explanation on the flag (such as “Pre-trip 10 minutes, Albuquerque, New Mexico). 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 pre-trip 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 drivers to log this requirement as on-duty time.

What paperwork is needed to prove a defect discovered during a roadside inspection was corrected, and where should it be kept?

If an officer issued 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 work day, or as part of the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (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 work day, the driver needs 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 (sign on the DVIR that the repair was completed and have 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 the repair documentation or the DVIR to the roadside inspection report.

This is 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. in Neenah, WI, concerning the ELD rule, which became mandatory in December 2017. Read Part 1 here.

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