As a truck driver, electronic logging devices (ELDs) have become essential to your daily routine. However, like any technology, ELDs can experience issues and fail unexpectedly. What should you do in such cases to ensure compliance with regulations and avoid potential penalties?
In this blog post, we’ll provide practical tips on handling ELD malfunctions and data diagnostic issues. We’ll cover how to document the incident, switch to a paper log, and resolve the problem with your ELD provider.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to handle an ELD failure smoothly and minimize any disruptions to your work.
The Purpose of the ELD
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are designed to record your record of duty status (RODS), including your driver’s hours, engine hours, vehicle motion status, and location data. They were created to improve road safety by reducing accidents caused by driver fatigue.
The primary purpose of ELDs is to automatically track your hours of service (HOS) instead of using a manual paper log, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors and falsifications.
By using an ELD, you can avoid headaches caused by mistakes in filling out graph grid paper logs and ensure that you stay on top of your driver’s hours.
The ELD mandate was issued in 2015 and took effect in 2017. It applies to commercial motor vehicle drivers involved in interstate commerce and is subject to the HOS rules.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that the ELD mandate will save more than 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 crashes annually.
ELDs are an essential tool for ensuring road safety and keeping track of your driver logs. They make planning routes, schedules, and rest breaks easier for you and your safety manager.
Because of this, knowing what to do during ELD malfunctions and data diagnostic events is crucial.
Common ELD Malfunctions and Data Diagnostic Events
While ELDs are designed to make your life easier, they can experience malfunctions or data diagnostic issues from time to time.
ELD malfunctions can be frustrating and stressful because they can lead to inaccurate recording of your hours of service (HOS) and violate FMCSA regulations.
Fortunately, the ELD must monitor itself for data diagnostic problems and ensure it operates within the ELD technical requirements.
Still, understanding the most common ELD malfunctions can help you troubleshoot the problem and prevent any potential penalties if you face any issues.
This is one of the most common ELD malfunctions. If your ELD is not correctly connected to your truck’s engine control module (ECM), it may not record accurate data, including your vehicle motion status, mileage, HOS, and engine power status, leading to errors in your logbook.
The most effective way to address this issue is to ensure that your device is installed correctly and that all the necessary connections are secure.
Loss of Power
Another common ELD malfunction is when the ELD loses power or shuts down unexpectedly. Power compliance malfunctions can occur due to a faulty power source or the ELD itself.
To avoid this issue, ensure your device is fully charged and has a reliable power source. You should also check for any damage to your device and have it repaired if necessary.
This issue can include problems with the display screen, buttons, or other device components.
When your device experiences a hardware failure, it can lead to inaccuracies in your record of duty status. It’s essential to perform regular checks on your device and ensure it is correctly installed and maintained.
If you notice any damage or malfunctions, contact your motor carrier and ELD provider to have it repaired or replaced.
ELD software issues can cause the device to freeze or not function properly. This can occur due to outdated software, bugs, or other technical issues.
To avoid software malfunctions, ensure your device’s software is up-to-date, and you’re using a compatible operating system.
GPS Signal Loss
Your ELD relies on GPS to accurately track your vehicle’s location and record data. If your device loses its GPS signal, it may not record accurate data, which can result in errors in your HOS logbook.
To avoid this issue, ensure that your device has a clear view of the sky and is not blocked by obstructions.
Data Transfer Problems
ELD data transfer problems can occur due to connectivity issues or software malfunctions. This data diagnostic issue can lead to delays in transmitting your data, affecting your compliance with FMCSA regulations.
It’s essential to have a reliable internet connection and to follow the troubleshooting steps provided by your ELD provider if you experience data transfer issues.
Incorrect Data Entry
Finally, incorrect data entry can occur due to human error or a malfunctioning ELD device. Reviewing your data daily to identify any inconsistencies or unidentified driving records is essential. Additionally, ensure you’re entering data accurately to avoid any potential errors.
To avoid these common ELD malfunctions, it’s essential to perform regular checks on your device and ensure that it is correctly installed and maintained.
You should also review your data daily to identify any inconsistencies that may indicate a malfunction. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow the troubleshooting steps provided by your ELD provider and contact their customer support if you cannot fix the issue.
Steps to Take Following an ELD Malfunction
If your ELD fails, it’s essential to immediately ensure compliance with your ELD malfunction reporting requirements and avoid any potential penalties.
Follow the steps outlined below if you are dealing with an ELD malfunction.
Document the Incident
It’s crucial to document the failure of your ELD accurately. This documentation can help you provide evidence to your motor carrier, safety manager, or law enforcement officers if you must present it later.
Record the Date and Time of Failure
Make sure to record the date and time when the failure occurred. This information will be necessary when filling out your paper log.
Take a Screenshot of the Error Message
When your ELD fails, it may display an error message. Take a screenshot of this message, as it may contain important information regarding the cause of failure.
Write Down Any Other Relevant Information
If there were any other issues or circumstances that contributed to the failure, write them down. This information can help you explain the failure to others if necessary.
Switch to Paper Logs
When your ELD fails, you should switch to a paper log to ensure compliance with FMCSA regulations. Follow the steps below to ensure you’re filling out your logs accurately.
Maintain Paper Logs For At Least 8 Days
You’re required to keep your paper logs for at least eight days after the ELD failure. During this time, make sure to fill out your paper logs accurately.
Fill Out Your Paper Log Accurately and Completely
When filling out your paper log, record your driving time, off-duty time, and rest breaks accurately and completely.
Be sure to recreate your record of duty status using graph grid paper logs. You should also record any additional information you would typically record in your ELD, such as location data and mileage.
Submit Paper Logs to Your Motor Carrier or Safety Manager
After filling out your paper log, it is crucial to submit them to your motor carrier or safety manager for review and processing.
Resolve the Issue With Your ELD Provider
Once you have documented the incident and switched to a paper log, you must contact your provider to resolve the ELD issue and help avoid any future malfunctions.
Contact Your ELD Provider’s Customer Support
After your ELD malfunctions, immediately call your ELD provider’s customer support team to report the issue. You should also provide written notice of the malfunction within 24 hours after the malfunction.
Provide them with the documentation you’ve collected and describe the problem in detail so they can begin to troubleshoot.
Follow All Troubleshooting Steps
Your provider will likely ask you to perform some troubleshooting steps to fix the issue. Follow their instructions carefully and document the steps you take. Giving your provider as much information as possible will help them to resolve the issue quickly.
Request a Repair or Replacement if Necessary
If your ELD cannot be fixed by troubleshooting alone, it’s crucial to submit a request for repair or replacement from your provider. Your provider can guide you through this process, so follow their instructions carefully and keep documentation of the request for your records.
Ultimately, the ELD is in place to keep you and other drivers safe on the road, so it’s essential to be prepared if you have a device malfunction. By understanding how your ELD works and knowing the steps to follow in the event of a malfunction, you can ensure safety on the road and adhere to your federal requirements as a truck driver.
Stay Safe on the Road
In conclusion, the electronic logging device (ELD) is an essential tool for a truck driver to remain compliant with FMCSA regulations and ensure safety on the road. However, even the most reliable ELD may fail unexpectedly.
If you ever find yourself dealing with an ELD malfunction, it’s essential to document the incident, switch to filling out a paper log, and then contact your ELD provider’s customer support to resolve the issue.
By understanding how to handle an ELD failure and following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure safety on the road and avoid potential penalties.