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ELD Technical Specification

Many carriers and drivers do not understand the ELD technical specifications, which is leading to misunderstandings, confusion, and problems during roadside inspections and audits. Make sure you understand the ELD technical requirements by reviewing the information below.

Requirement ELD
Vehicle connections Must use the ECM on MY 2000 or newer vehicle (normally connected to the J-bus or OBD connection) or “other means” if vehicle is older than MY 2000 and/or ECM is not accessible (use by a driver operating a vehicle older than model year 2000 is not required, but it is optional).
Automatic data captures Dataset (date, time, location, vehicle miles, engine hours, driver, carrier, vehicle) must be captured at startup and shutdown, login/logout, at every duty change, and once per hour when vehicle is in operation.
Location entry Must be automatically captured when required. Must be accurate to one mile in normal operations and to 10 miles during periods of personal use.
Driver entries and use Driver must be able to enter nondriving duty changes, location (only if prompted when automatic location capture failed), and edits/ corrections. Driver must also have access to all his or her records in the system.
Dealing with “special driving time” (such as yard time and personal use) Carrier can allow driver to use “special driving categories” that are built into the ELD (yard time and personal use). These place the driving onto the correct duty line (on duty or off duty) when selected.
Verification that system is compliant Vendor’s device must be on the FMCSA’s ELD Registry.
Driving decision Vehicle reaches 5 miles per hour.
Stopped decision Vehicle must be fully stopped for three seconds before any entries are allowed, and the driver must be asked for a duty change if one is not made within 5 minutes of being stopped (if one is not made, the device will place the driver on duty automatically).
Display/printout requirement (devices must only do one or the other, not both) Header, grid-graph display, and detailed list of data captures that includes driver ID, carrier ID, truck number and VIN, shipment document number or information, current location, unidentified driver driving time, any malfunctions, details of all changes of duty status (event, date, time, location, vehicle miles and hours), and details of any data capture.
Use and mounting while driving System must not allow driver input while driving. Portable display must be mounted within view of the driver when seated in driver’s seat.
Roadside inspection process Driver to provide officer with either display or printout. Printing is not required if device has a display that can be viewed outside of the vehicle. Driver must be able to provide officer with electronic records using one of two communications options, telematic (web service and email) or local (Bluetooth and USB 2.0). The device must be able to use both methods within the communications option the device uses. During the inspection, the driver tells the officer which method the device uses, telematics or local, and then the officer selects the specific transfer method.
Resistance to driver tampering Must not permit alteration or erasure of the original information or alteration of the source data streams. ELD must support “data integrity check” functions.
Indicator of sensor or device failures ELD must have the capability to monitor its compliance (engine connectivity, timing, positioning, etc.) for malfunctions and data inconsistencies. ELD must record these occurrences.
Driver and support personnel edits Driver and supervisors allowed to make edits. System must be able to identify edits and capture “who, when, and why.” Driver must review and approve all edits made by other parties. Changes by supervisors cannot be brought into the official record until approved by the driver. System must retain original record and all changes.
Communication of data and records to back office No detailed requirement. Driver must certify each record upon completion of the day and submit records within 13 days of completion. The back office must retain records (and backup copy) once provided by the driver for six months.
Handling of unassigned driving Driver logging into device must be offered any unassigned driving on the device. If driver rejects it, the unassigned driving must come into carrier’s “unassigned driver account.” The carrier must then assign it to the correct driver or attach a comment explaining why it cannot be assigned. All unassigned driving records must be retained in a specific unassigned driver account.
Audits process During an audit, the auditor (investigator) will request logs for specific drivers for specific dates. The carrier will then need to transfer the logs electronically to the investigator using either telematics (web service and email) or local transfer (Bluetooth and USB 2.0). The investigator will also ask to see the unassigned driver account, and will investigate all unassigned driving events in the account. The investigator will also investigate edits, malfunctions, and any use of the special driving categories he or she comes across.

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