Trucking

The Eight Most Common Questions About ELDs

With the final ELD rule now in effect, here are some helpful answers about compliance.

During the countdown to the Dec. 18 deadline for ELD compliance, drivers and fleet owners still had a lot of questions about ELD mandate.

Below are eight frequent questions we at RTS Carrier Services hear while serving our trucking customers, followed by thorough, up-to-date answers.

Q: Do all heavy trucks have to comply with the ELD rule?

Most commercial motor vehicles will be required to have an ELD. Exemptions from the ELD rule include:

  • Fleets operating heavy trucks manufactured prior to the year 2000.
  • Drivers who only use paper duty status records for eight days or less during a 30-day period.
  • Drivers who do not have to keep a records-of-duty status.
  • Vehicles that are also the product being delivered (drive-away/tow-away).
  • Carriers that only perform short hauls within a 100-air-mile radius.

Q: Does the ELD rule apply to owner-operators and small fleets?

Yes, it does. Small carries and owner-operators that do not qualify for an exemption must equip their trucks with ELDs by Dec. 18.

Q: Do hot shot trucking fleets have to use ELDs?

The FMCSA provides an exemption from the ELD mandate for carriers with vehicles that do not require CDLs and operate within a 150-air-miles radius of their headquarters. To learn more about this exemption, visit the FMCSA website here.

Q: How much will it cost me to equip my trucks with electronic logs?

The cost of an ELD can vary widely, depending on what kinds of capabilities you want it to have. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has estimated that an ELD could cost anywhere from $165 to $832 per year, per truck. RTS Carrier Services’ partner, Transflo, offers two types of electronic logging devices that cost $25 or $35 per month. If you purchase Transflo’s Standard or Fleet Telematics ELDs through RTS Carrier Services, you can save $99 for each device.

Q: I have an electronic logging system, but it’s old. Do I have to get a new one?

You may currently be using an automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD). If so, you have a little more time before you need to worry about upgrading to ELDs. The deadline when drivers using AOBRDs must comply with the new ELD regulation is Dec. 16, 2019.

Q: Can I just log my hours on my phone?

You can use your phone or tablet to help track hours-of-service, but you will also need an ELD physically installed in your truck. The hardware of the ELD device records engine data and driving activity. Your phone or tablet can be used to download compliant mobile application software that works with the ELD’s data to track drive time, duty status, driver breaks and other operational information.

Q: How big a deal is this for trucking?

The ELD mandate is expected to affect most of the trucking industry. The FMCSA estimates that 3.4 million commercial truck drivers must comply with the rule. Some studies have estimated that as many as 2 million trucks do not use any type of electronic logging today.

Q: How will the government know whether I’m using ELDs or not?

ELD non-compliance can be detected during a DOT audit or a roadside inspection. After Dec. 18, the penalties for not having an ELD can be stiff: fines of as much as $11,000 per incident, in addition to possible temporary or permanent shutdown orders.

Sources: Overdrive, American Trucker, FMCSA, Transflo