In December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the ELD mandate, making it necessary for all commercial motor vehicles (with a few exceptions) to have an electronic logging device. The ELD mandate was introduced to make the recording to Hours of Service data more accurate and authentic, in order to encourage a better and safe work environment for drivers and carriers.
Compliance, Safety, Accountability, also known as CSA is an initiative by FMCSA and has a Safety Measurement System (SMS) that identifies unsafe vehicles, carriers and drivers based on certain predetermined criteria. After the ELD mandate, the FMCSA updated the CSA’s SMS to include ELD violations and weightage for severity. The update lists 22 ELD related violations as a fair warning to drivers and carriers, encouraging them to adhere to rules in order to avoid severe penalties and fines.
A better understanding of the violations and their weightage, their effect on the SMS score will definitely help the drivers and carriers in avoiding them. Matrack Incorporation has created this comprehensive guide to assist drivers and motor carriers with the same. In this guide we will discuss:
- The updated ELD-related violations
- Common violations and ways to avoid them
- Impact of full enforcement ELD-related violations
- Impact of violations
The updated ELD-related violations
As of April 1, 2018, the updated violations will fall under the Hours of Service Compliance BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) category, and will not be applied retroactively. So ELD violations prior to the enforcement date (April 1, 2018) will not affect the SMS score.
Below is a table that lists all the 22 ELD-related violations, along with the corresponding section, description, violation group, and severity weight.
The above mentioned ELD-related violations are being strictly enforced. Drivers who do not fall under any exemptions, if found violating any of the regulations are being charged with severe penalties. If non-exempt drivers are found driving a commercial motor vehicle without an ELD solution, they are placed out-of-service. They can only resume driving jobs after complying with ELD mandate.
Apart from the above mentioned violation, here are a few violations that carry a severity weightage of 10 (on a scale of 10):
- 395.13 (d) – Driver is found driving a CMV after being declared out-of-service for hours of service (HOS) violation(s)
- 392.3-FPASS – Driver found to be driving passenger-carrying CMV under extreme fatigue
- 392.3-FPROP – Driver found to be driving property-carrying CMV under extreme fatigue
- 392.3- I – Driver found driving CMV while impaired by illness or other reason
- 390.17DT – Driver found driving a CMV while texting
- 392.4(a) – Driver found driving under influence of drugs and/or has drugs in his possession
- 390.35B-MED – Driver found driving a CMV under falsified or fraudulent medical certificate
As mentioned in the table above, most violations related to discrepancies in Form and Manner have a lower weightage. These can be avoided by ensuring that all records are in compliance, and the driver diligently follows the ELD instructions.
- 395.22A – A driver found driving a CMV with a device that’s not registered with FMCSA. This violation falls under Incomplete/wrong log and attracts a severity weightage of 5. The best and the only way to avoid this violation is to ensure that the device you choose for your CMVs is from an FMCSA-approved registered ELD provider. You can see the list here.
- 395.20B – The ELDs display screen not visible from outside the commercial motor vehicle. This violation has a severity weightage of 5 and is categorized under Incomplete/Wrong log. By ensuring the ELD is mounted in a way so that its screen is visible from outside the vehicle, drivers can avoid this violation. Moreover, tilting the screen and unlocking the device from mounts are allowed. In case the driver is using a portable ELD such as a phone or tablet, using a mount that allows tilting the device to make the screen visible is a good option. Also, in case of portable ELD, the driver is not required to hand over the device to the safety officer.
- 395.32B – Driver failed to assume or decline unassigned driving time. This violation is again a case of incomplete/wrong log and has a severity weightage of 5. By simply correcting any unassigned driving time as indicated in the ELD interface, this violation can be avoided. Also, it is important that drivers are thoroughly trained in various processes involved in recording data in the ELD.
- 395.34A1 – Driver fails to keep a paper log in case of ELD malfunction. With a severity weightage of 5, this violation is also considered as an incomplete/wrong log. Drivers can avoid this violation by keeping the guide on ELD diagnostics and malfunction provided by the ELD manufacturer with them at all times. In case the malfunction is repetitive and persists, the driver is required to notify the carrier in writing and keep evidence of the same communication while driving.
Here are a few tips for commercial vehicle drivers as well as carriers that can help them in passing inspections without any major violations.
- Knowledge: It has been over a year that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration updated the CSA’s Safety Measurement System list to include several ELD-related violations. Knowing what the violations are like winning half the battle. It helps the drivers and carriers to prepare for inspections. The penalty for not adhering to the rules laid down in ELD mandate is very severe. Not having an ELD, or having an ELD from a manufacturer who is not FMCSA approved are two major discrepancies and can result in the driver being placed out-of-service.
- Train the Driver: Although the newer electronic logging devices are an advanced version of the earlier used AOBRDs, they are significantly different. If you have seen the above table that lists all the ELD-related violations, you must have noticed that there are several Form and Manner violations. Most of these occur when a driver fails to enter or select some data manually on the ELD interface. Drivers, therefore, need proper training and education to help them understand its workings. They need time and practice to adjust to the changes in data recording processes. Most violations regarding ELDs occur due to the driver’s lack of knowledge of the system, and his/her failure to correctly input information whenever prompted by the ELD. Few common violations occurring due to the driver’s lack of knowledge are:
- 395.11G – Driver fails to provide supporting documents in his/her possession. Weightage severity – 7
- 395.32B – Drivers fail to assume or decline unassigned driving time. Weightage severity – 5
- 395.34A1 – Driver fails to note malfunction requiring the use of paper logs. Weightage severity- 5
- 395.24C1I- Driver failed to make annotations when applicable. Weightage severity – 1
- 395.22H2 – Driver failing to maintain ELD instruction sheet. Weightage severity – 1
- 395.22H1 – Driver failing to maintain ELD user’s manual. Weightage severity – 1
There are several violations that carry very low severity weight (1 out of 10), however, if neglected, these can accumulate and create major problems in terms of fines, and also affect the CSA score.
- Notice of exemption: Most commercial motor vehicle drivers and carriers are required to follow the ELD mandate and related regulations, there are some drivers who are exempted from it. However, while inspection, such drivers are required to furnish documents supporting their exemption from the ELD rule. Failure to produce evidence of exemption to the safety officer can lead to a violation.
- Registered ELD: FMCSA maintains a list of approved ELD manufacturers. Drivers and carriers are required to choose an ELD provider from the list to avoid violations. There are more than 200 vendors on the list. As per FMCSA, the criteria for a manufacturer to be on the list is to have a self-certified device. This, however, does not always mean that the devices are FMCSA-compliant. Thus, motor carriers and drivers need to do thorough research before choosing the right ELD manufacturer. Having an ELD solution that does not comply with FMCSA standards can lead to the driver being placed out-of-service for more than 10 hours.
What you need to know about ‘full enforcement’ of updated ELD violations?
ELD mandate became effective in December 2017. However, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) did not enforce the updated violations until April 2018. The period between December 2017 and April 2018 was known as ‘soft enforcement’ and out-of-service criteria were not adopted during this time.
Now that the ELD-related violations and penalties have been in full enforcement, there are few things all commercial motor vehicle drivers need to know.
- The out-of-service period is for 10 hours. Drivers who are not exempt can be placed in out-of-service for not having an ELD or having an ELD that is not FMCSA compliant. As discussed above, all the ELDs on FMCSA certified list are not necessarily FMCSA compliant, and thus it is crucial to choose a device that meets the required standards.
- If a driver is found to have falsified logs or records, or any discrepancy is found in driver’s documents, he/she will be placed in out-of-service. Such violations also attract other penalties and fines.
- A driver who is placed out-of-service is allowed to take delivery of the shipment, after completing the said 10 hours (of out-of-service). However, this is allowed only if the driver has paper logs to show for his travel.
- If a driver is found driving either without an ELD or with a non-compliant ELD, he/she can get back to work after completion of 10 hours of out-of-service, only after becoming a complaint.
- In the case of ELD malfunction, a driver is required to get the ELD fixed or replaced within a period of 8 days. Due to any reason, if the ELD cannot be fixed or replaced within 8 days, drivers are required to ask for an extension. Generally, if the malfunctioning ELD is unable to record the hours of service data, an extension is granted to get it repaired or replaced.
- Drivers are required to carry various documents like:
- Data transfer manual with proper instructions for drivers about transferring data from the ELD to a safety officer
- ELD malfunction sheet
- User guide for ELD
- Blank graph-grid paper logs, in case they are required
- Documents as mentioned in FMCSA regulations
How ELD-related violations and penalties affect the motor carrier business?
We have quite broadly discussed the ELD-related violations and the penalties they incur in this guide. And we can clearly conclude that as a driver or motor carrier, you do not want to be on the other side of the law. The penalties and fines enforced due to ELD violations have a much greater impact on your business.
We know now that ELD violations have a huge influence on deciding your CSA score. Avoiding violations and compliance of all FMCSA regulations would mean a good rating. It is a well-known fact that a motor carrier company with a better score is more preferred in the industry, and gets more clients. Even if some violations have a very low weightage, gradually if they accumulate, the CSA score can be negatively affected. The only way to ensure a good score is to be aware, alert, and follow the rules. A bad CSA score would also mean frequent time-consuming roadside inspections.
When drivers are placed out-of-service for being in violation of any ELD-related rule, they are not allowed to drive for a period of 10 hours. It would result in a complete change in their driving schedule, as well as delayed delivery of the shipment they are carrying.
Every time that a drive is placed out-of-service for 10 hours amounts to a loss of approximately $300. With the driver being penalized, the commercial motor vehicle is most likely to be towed, which is an additional loss of $300-$400. The fines for ELD violations can range from $1,000 to $10,000.
ELD violations negatively impact your CSA score, decrease cost-effectiveness of your operations, and also obstruct good business opportunity.
To summarize, in order to run your business smoothly and successfully, it is absolutely crucial that you follow all the rules and regulations surrounding ELD. And the easiest way to avoid violations and other complications is to have an FMCSA complaint ELD solution.
If you are looking for electronic logging device and solutions to best suit your business, you must get in touch with Matrack Incorporation. We have been serving the industry with affordable, convenient, and advanced solutions for over a decade.
Matrack Incorporation has designed an FMCSA-approved ELD – MA-ELD Classic The device is easy to install and comes with a host of features that make it easy to record data regarding HOS, speed violations, fuel management, and vehicle maintenance. Apart from ELD compliance and HOS logs, some of the features of MA-ELD Classic include – real-time tracking, idle time tracking, violation alerts, engine temperature status, and IFTA tax filing. If you want to know more about the products and services of Matrack Incorporation, contact here.