The ELD mandate was a significant initiative by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to record drivers’ Hours of Service (HoS). A crucial part of complying with the mandate is successfully transferring your records to officers during on-road audits. So ELD transfer violation is an issue that you must take into account.
Using an ELD for recording and preparing logs is not sufficient. Your system must be able to transfer the electronic catalogs and records to the inspecting authority for review and analysis. If you fail to transmit data to the device of the authorized officer promptly, they will charge you for violations of having no record of duty status.
So you need to know how to perform the successful transfer of records from your system and the issues involved in this process. This article will be an informative guide for making ELD log transfer more streamlined and convenient.
Why do Fleets and CMV Operators Need the ELD Rule?
The ELD or Electronic Logging Device is a tool that helps track the number of hours a driver is working, which helps to prevent driver fatigue that can lead to accidents. The primary aim of ELD regulations is to make driving safer by accurately recording the hours of service and creating safer driving conditions. With the help of ELD, CMV operators can manage their driver’s duty status and performance, which in turn, reduces the chances of accidents due to driver fatigue.
Apart from tracking the hours of service, ELD also records engine diagnostics data and generates accurate reports on vehicle performance. These automated reports provide valuable insights into the vehicle’s condition, driving performance, and fuel efficiency, making fleet operations more productive and efficient
What Data Does ELD Capture?
The primary task of ELD is to track drivers’ regulated Hours of Service (HoS) by directly collecting data from the engine’s diagnostic port. But that’s not all.
Electronic logging devices can readily capture vehicle and driver-related data, crucial for effective fleet management.
Most electronic logging devices have built-in GPS tracking systems and sensors to capture real-time vehicle data for recording and transmission. The ELDs generally record the following information:
- Real-time GPS location of the vehicle
- Distance covered
- Engine speed and running hours
- Fuel efficiency and mileage
- Engine diagnostics and fault indications
- Driving time and idling hours
- Hours of Service
- Duty status change
- Risky driving behavior like overspeeding, acceleration, and hard braking
- Safety-related events like accidents and collisions
Common ELD Violations
There are some common ELD violations that you may face time-to-time so you should know how to avoid these with appropriate actions. To avoid unnecessary penalties, be aware of the following violations:
Operating Without an FMCSA-Compliant ELD Device
Please remember that you should use only FMCSA-certified electronic logging devices. Don’t fall into the trap of getting a low-cost electronic logging device installed in your vehicle to minimize the initial expenses. Later, you might realize that the device doesn’t meet FMCSA regulations. This could cause big problems for you because you didn’t comply with ELD rules.
Failure to Detect Device Malfunction
The ELD device is designed to keep drivers safe, which is super important! However, if the device malfunctions and your drivers can’t keep accurate logs, it’s considered a violation. To avoid this, it’s important to stay on top of any device problems and fix them as soon as possible. If there are issues, you can work with the authorities to find alternative documentation procedures and make sure the device is working properly within eight days. Ensure the safety and compliance of your drivers!
Failure to Transfer Data
We understand that the main purpose of ELD is to ensure accurate and authentic HOS logs. With ELD’s ability to transfer records electronically to inspecting officers, compliance is made easier. However, if your ELD isn’t working and you’re unable to transfer these records, it’s a serious violation of the rules and could result in penalties.
Device Display Invisible
This is a typical requirement by the inspecting officers to make the display visible from outside the vehicle. You should place the device appropriately to ensure visibility. If you use a Smartphone device, you can make necessary adjustments to the display without handing it over to the personnel.
Unable to Login/Logout
At the beginning of duty hours, every truck driver must log their information into the system. Similarly, they should log out after completing their work. This procedure is mandatory to track the working hours. Therefore, drivers need to develop the habit of login and logout daily without fail.
The Significance of ELD Data Transfer
ELD logs provide accurate and updated information about drivers’ duty status, which has safety implications. It ensures that your operations are complying with Hours of Service rules as recommended by FMCSA.
Recording Hours of Service is closely related to the carrier’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score.
To make the transport companies more responsible for complying with the ELD rules, the FMCSA conducts regular audits, imposes fines and out-of-service orders, and evaluates the performance with CSA scores. You must show and transfer the ELD data quickly to avoid the violation of not having an ELD in your vehicle.
In the competitive environment, no carriers can afford to be penalized or lose their credibility. So, it becomes very critical for you to check your CSA scores regularly, remains updated about the situation, and eliminate any chances for driver violations.
The Implications of ELD Transfer Violation
The ELD mandate makes it clear that during a roadside inspection, the driver must comply with the following mandatory requirements:
- Drivers should provide the logs for the last seven days, including the current day, through the electronic logging device.
- For initial inspection, drivers can show the ELD display to the officer.
- Drivers must also be able to transfer their log data electronically to another device of the authorized inspection personnel.
- If the driver fails to transfer the logs, officers will rely on the display of records or a printout to verify the driver’s compliance. However, the driver will be placed out of service if no logs are available for checking.
Methods of ELD Data Transfer
Before exploring the root cause of ELD transfer violations, you need to know the methods applied for data transfer. There are four ways to transfer ELD data to other devices.
Electronic Transfer Through Wireless Web Services
- This method is applicable when the driver uses a telematics ELD with wireless web services capabilities.
- The driver will send the data directly to an FMCSA server.
- The safety official will retrieve the data from the server using a routing code.
Emailing the Data to the FMCSA Authority
- The electronic log file is sent as an attachment to an email.
- This email address is pre-programmed in the ELD by the vendor.
- The safety official assigns a routing code for reference in the email.
Transfer of Records Locally by Connecting to a Device via USB
- To electronically transfer data from the ELD, the officials will provide the driver with a secure USB device.
- Next, the official will transfer the data from the USB device to a computing device for further processing.
Transfer of Records by Connecting via Bluetooth
- Local data transfer by Bluetooth requires internet connectivity in a safety official’s device.
- The electronic logging device will connect to the safety official’s device to transfer data by Bluetooth.
- The connectivity is accessible only to share the ELD data via the web service.
To facilitate the electronic transfer of ELD data during compliance audits, officials have the option to select one preferred electronic data transfer method, including wireless web services or email. Furthermore, they can also opt for a local data transfer method using USB or Bluetooth, as appropriate.
Generally, the officers prefer wireless web service for ELD data transfer which is faster than email and ensures immediate transfer of logs without any delays. Electronic logging devices may fail to work efficiently with poor network signals, but it is not a valid excuse for not transferring the data.
How to Avoid ELD Transfer Violations?
By now, you have understood that you need to comply with the ELD mandate by any means and avoid any violation. We have given some practical tips to guide you in avoiding ELD transfer violations.
Choose an FMCSA Registered ELD
It is one of the primary criteria that make you fit for ELD compliance. A diverse range of ELD systems are available in the market, so you have to be very careful about selecting one. As you decide on an ELD solution, analyze the details to ensure it is approved and certified by FMCSA.
A non-compliant ELD will put you in trouble as it may not be designed in the desired way to authorize data transfer.
It is always better to read customer reviews about a particular brand of electronic logging device so that you get first-hand experience and information and make suitable decisions. Your system should be efficient and reliable enough to transfer data to other compatible devices.
Employ Drivers with the Necessary Experience
Drivers with basic ideas about ELD operations and HoS rules give you an added advantage. They are less likely to engage in activities violating the norms and practices. You can ask for the pre-employment screening program (PSP) reports before hiring a driver that would guide you in making informed decisions.
Hiring a driver with a good record and experience can save you from unnecessary liabilities due to ELD transfer violations.
Conduct Training for Drivers
Analysis shows that most ELD violations occur because drivers are unaware of the ELD operations and the implications. Do your drivers know what to do in case of road inspections?
For roadside inspections to go smoothly, drivers must have adequate knowledge to transfer data quickly and prevent violations.
It is necessary to conduct regular training sessions for your drivers to teach them how to use the device, upload supporting documents, share details with the official, transfer the logs, and handle device malfunctions.
Check the Log Entries Regularly
It is good to trust and rely on your drivers, but what if some of them bypass the procedures? You should keep a watch if everything is going on as per guidelines. Make a periodic audit of entries made by drivers to detect any errors that can lead to violations.
You can identify the concerned driver who may require consultation and assistance. Arrange proper training to address any knowledge gaps and improve accountability. The audit also highlights if there is any device malfunctioning so that you can arrange to resolve the issue within the specified time.
Check Device Functionalities During Maintenance
Regular maintenance is a part of your fleet management activities to keep your vehicles in good running condition. During the maintenance, you can check whether the ELD is working in the desired way by testing the various functions, especially the data transfer methods.
If you get indications of any potential issues, you can arrange for alternative documentation like paper logs. It would ensure vehicles don’t face violation charges during road inspections.
Carry Relevant Documents
Drivers have to keep the following documents ready with them in compliance with the ELD rule:
- Data transfer manual with proper instructions for drivers
- ELD malfunction sheet
- User guide for ELD
- Blank paper logs for manual entry
The focus of the ELD mandate is to improve safety and compliance. It intends to create a convenient system to monitor drivers’ duty hours and streamline the reporting process. Fleet owners, managers, and drivers must work collaboratively to ensure adherence to ELD rules.
Maintaining a proper record of HoS, producing the same to the official, and transferring the logs to the authority are essential parameters to improve your safety, compliance, and accountability. This article provides valuable insights into ELD violations and guides you to address the same with appropriate actions.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an ELD transfer violation?
Answer: An ELD transfer violation occurs when a driver fails to transfer their electronic logging device (ELD) data to an authorized safety official during a roadside inspection or compliance review. This violation can result in fines or other penalties, as well as damage to a driver’s safety record.
- How can I avoid an ELD transfer violation?
Answer: To avoid an ELD transfer violation, drivers should ensure that their ELD is properly installed and functioning correctly and that they are trained on how to use it. Drivers should also be prepared to provide their ELD data to safety officials upon request, and make sure that their device is properly configured to allow for easy data transfer.
- What are the consequences of an ELD transfer violation?
Answer: The consequences of an ELD transfer violation can vary depending on the severity of the violation and the specific circumstances involved. Generally, violations can result in fines and penalties, as well as points on a driver’s safety record. In some cases, repeated violations or more serious violations could lead to the suspension or revocation of a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL).
James Johnson is a former truck driver who now works as a writer, specializing in the trucking industry. With over 15 years of experience on the road, James has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole. His writing focuses on issues such as safety, regulation, and the latest industry trends. His work has been featured in several trucking publications and he has received recognition for his contributions to the industry. In his free time, James still enjoys being around trucks and often attends truck shows and other industry events.