Turn Signals – Issue 65

Is your fleet now running with ELDs? Does that mean all of your driver logs are now automatically compliant? Absolutely not – They must still be audited by the carrier. Drivers can still be breaking the rules. If you don’t check them, you don’t know what’s going on. Fortunately, most ELD systems will automatically tell you when there are violations. Even so, trucking companies must look for false logs by comparing other documents with times on them, such as fueling records, to see if drivers are logging any on-duty activities as off-duty. Paper logs or logging apps that are used when an ELD malfunction should be audited. Carriers must also account for all “unidentified drivers” who operated your trucks. You may want to give mechanics or other employees who might be moving your trucks ELD credentials in order to help account for unknown drivers.

What does a motor carrier do when a truck with an ELD is in a remote area where the device loses connectivity to cell towers and ceases to work? This situation often occurs at oilfield well sites and in farm produce areas. You do not have to follow the regulations for a “malfunctioning” unit, such as using paper logs to reconstruct today and the last 7 days. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advises waiting until the ELD becomes connected again. Then use the edit function to reconstruct the period of missing data along with writing notes explaining the reason for the edit. Train your drivers to alert the home office to ensure these edits are accurate and well explained.

FMCSA advises the same “edit and annotate” technique will be needed on some military bases to reconstruct driver logs. For security reasons, handheld ELDs are being confiscated at the base entrances and not returned until the driver is ready to exit.

The Owner-Operator Independent Contractor Association announced filing a petition at FMCSA to amend certain hours-of-service regulations. They propose eliminating the 30-minute break that must be done no later than eight hours since coming on duty. Instead, drivers would be able to go on a rest up to 3 hours long, and the 14-hour daily clock would be paused and extended for the break’s length of time. This idea is not a “split sleeper berth” proposal. Drivers would still be required to rest a minimum of 10 consecutive hours between work shifts. OOIDA states the current rules force drivers to be on the road in heavy traffic or in bad weather, and when they are tired and fatigued.

Acting on a requirement in the federal FAST Act, FMCSA is seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to study commercial drivers whose commute to work exceeds 150 minutes. The agency proposes to choose 12,000 drivers from its records, half truck drivers, and half bus drivers, and mail those letters asking them to complete an online survey of their commuting habits. There would be a $10 incentive to participate. FMCSA will study the prevalence of excessive commuting times and the resultant safety effect on those workers then driving commercial vehicles.

Did you know…. Measuring speed and volume from truck GPS units, the “Spaghetti Junction” interchange in Atlanta (I-85/I-285) is the #1 worst freight bottleneck in the USA.

Published by Nicholas Wingerter and TRUCK SAFETY ©2018 All Rights Reserved