Over a year after full implementation of the ELD mandate, Teletrac Navman is holding a series of customer roadshow events this summer across the US to meet with clients, discuss the latest challenges they’re facing and answer key questions about getting the most from their software. The first event, held in Southern California in April, focused on compliance challenges, featuring guest speaker Bill Mahorney, Enforcement Division Chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), under the Department of Transportation (DoT). Here are a few key learnings and takeaways:
1. The AOBRD switch is top of mind for fleets
Throughout the day, it was clear the upcoming December 2019 AOBRD deadline is top of mind for fleet managers and compliance officers. Several questions popped up during the Q&A session, including if the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs will require a hardware change (answer: not necessarily!) and what the process will look like for fleets (Teletrac Navman, for example, will audit a fleet’s account to determine the hardware and features in use to develop a transition plan).
Representing the FMCSA, Bill Mahorney offered two pieces of advice to fleets on the transition: don’t wait until the last minute, and work closely with your provider. The FMCSA continues to advocate for making the switch early to ensure fleets aren’t caught short on December 16th if there’s a disruption and to allow time for ample driver training. At Teletrac Navman, we have a major migration project underway to assess each customer’s fleets to determine the unique needs for every vehicle and the best strategy to make the change. We’re also happy to advise fleets on the best ways to train their staff.
2. FMCSA observations over the past year
One central goal for the FMCSA in the coming months is to ensure equal enforcement of regulations in different parts of the company. With several hundred federal officers, plus tens of thousands of enforcement personnel on the roadside, the agency is focused on training and educating officers in the same way.
That’s just one observation Bill Mahorney of the FMCSA shared with the Southern California crowd. He also reviewed some of the comments the agency’s received since the rolling out of the December 2018 ELD mandate, including how they’re investigating data from elogs to examine long-term trends around Hours of Service (HOS) rules, especially related to safety and issues of speeding.
Bill also spent time breaking down some of the common ELD violations the agency is seeing. The majority, he says, are from paperwork violations, such as not having the ELD instruction manual (either paper or electronic), data transfer instructions and blank paperlogs. Drivers with ELDs need to carry eight days’ worth of paperlogs in case of a malfunction to ensure they can show data in case a device isn’t able to transfer data. And continuing the theme of AOBRDs, fleets must continue to educate drivers on what system they're operating - because they can have an ELD operating as an AOBRD until December - but it makes a difference as to the process on the road during inspections.
One last takeaway is the importance of annotating elogs with anomalies or glitches. For any missing data, data transfer challenges, etc., drivers should enter missing data and annotate the log to make it easier for the enforcement officer to determine if a violation truly happened.
3. Drivers are fleets’ first line of defense for compliance
At the end of the roundtable, two customers participated in a discussion on compliance concerns they’re facing and invited similar stories from other representatives in the audience. One notable theme? When it comes to compliance, fleet managers and compliance officers rely on their drivers; they’re the first line of defense in remaining compliant with industry regulations.
In the few months after the December 2018 ELD deadline, there was some confusion on the part of drivers both around knowing if they had an AOBRD or ELD system, and challenges with transferring the electronic logs. As the industry as a whole becomes more and more comfortable with ELDs, a large part of the responsibility for compliance lies with the drivers, so as a manager, you rely on how complete their knowledge and education on all aspects of ELDs is. Bill Mahorney agrees, saying the more information and knowledge a driver can provide to an enforcement officer during an inspection, the smoother and faster it will go. Because so much importance rests on a driver’s understanding of ELDs and HOS, it benefits fleet owners to invest time and energy into properly training and educating them on an ongoing basis.
As the transportation industry moves closer toward the upcoming AOBRD transition deadline, and looks to change HOS rules, compliance will continue to remain a key focus for fleet managers. Discussing challenges with peers and industry experts offers a chance to compare key learnings and best practices to improve processes and make remaining compliant easier for all.
To learn more about how Teletrac Navman can help your fleets solve compliance challenges, please visit: On Road Compliance