We get a lot of questions about hours-of-service limits, recordkeeping requirements, and exceptions. Here are some answers to keep you ELD compliant and on the road.
In this, the third 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 and Part 2 here.
What if the driver using a “logging app” on a cell phone, tablet, or laptop is NOT getting data from the vehicle to automatically determine when the driver is driving? Do these devices meet the electronic log requirements going into effect December 18, 2017? Does being able to print the logs make any difference?
The simple answer is “No,” and here’s why: Drivers required to use an electronic log as of December 18, 2017, must be using an AOBRD or ELD, and they both have one thing in common: the device gets data from the vehicle to automatically determine when the driver is driving. If the app is not connected to the vehicle to get the required data, it is not an AOBRD or ELD and cannot be used to comply with the requirement.
How do I know the device and system I am using is compliant as of December 18, 2017?
If you are using an AOBRD, the provider should have provided you with a letter stating that the device is complaint with the requirements in §395.15 (the AOBRD regulations). If you are using a system that is complaint with the new ELD regulations, the device will be listed on FMCSA’s “ELD Registry.” If the provider cannot provide you with a letter stating the device is compliant with §395.15 and the device is not on the ELD Registry, you cannot use it to comply with the requirements going into effect December 18, 2017.
What if a driver goes through a roadside inspection after December 18, 2017, and is not using an electronic log when required?
The driver won’t have an acceptable log as required by §395.8(a). The fine and other consequences will be the same as they are today when a driver doesn’t present acceptable logs when requested. There may be a period of “soft enforcement,” during which officers will have the option to write warnings for first-time violations, but this isn’t something you should plan on.
There may be a period of “soft enforcement,” during which officers will have the option to write warnings for first-time violations, but this isn’t something you should plan on.
Related areas we got a lot of questions in are the hours-of-service limits, recordkeeping requirements, and exceptions. Here are some of the common questions we get in these areas:
Are there any exceptions to the 14-hour rule that apply if I’m stuck at a customer for several hours or have a breakdown that takes several hours to resolve?
No, not specifically. The 14-hour rule is a “consecutive hour” rule, so once you start your day as a driver, the clock is ticking (if you start your day at 7:00 a.m., you must stop driving at 9:00 p.m.). On-duty time, off-duty time, driving time, and sleeper-berth periods of less than 8 hours all count toward the 14-hours. The only exceptions to the 14-hour rule apply to “special” drivers—specifically drivers operating property-carrying vehicles who don’t require a CDL to operate and who return to their work reporting location, drivers who have returned to their work reporting location within the last five workdays, and drivers using the “split sleeper berth” exemption (the eight-hour sleeper break doesn’t count toward the 14 when the driver is using this exception).
What happens if I run out of hours due to the 8-hour, 14-hour limit, or 60- or 70-hour limit while sitting at a customer, and the customer tells me I have to leave the property?
When the property owner (the customer) tells you to leave the property, you have to leave. Yes, this is a violation of the hours-of-service limit involved, but the driver has no choice. The key is keeping the driving to the minimum and to not falsify the log when it happens. The driver should keep the movement to a safe location to the minimum (get to the nearest safe place the driver can take the required break), “log it as it was done,” and put a note on the log (whether paper or electronic) explaining why he/she drove when out of hours. If this happens occasionally to a fleet’s drivers, it won’t be an issue, as it’s somewhat expected. However, if drivers are operating over the limits regularly (10 percent of more of the time), for whatever reason, then there’ll be a problem.
What if I reach one of the limits (8-hour, 11-hour, 14-hour, or the 60- or 70-hour limit) and cannot find a safe place to stop and take the required break?
Just like being asked to leave a customer when out of hours, there’s no exception allowing you to keep driving, so any driving past the limit would be a violation. Good trip planning and route knowledge can normally prevent this from happening. The key when it does happen is to keep the driving to the minimum, not falsify the log, and put a note on the log (whether paper or electronic) explaining why it happened. If this happens occasionally to a fleet’s drivers, it won’t be an issue, as it is somewhat expected. However, if drivers are operating over the limits regularly (10 percent of more of the time), for whatever reason, then there’ll be a problem.
Thomas E. Bray is the Lead Transportation Editor for J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. in Neenah, WI.