With the ELD Mandate rapidly approaching, it is a good idea for carriers to look at policies and procedures — whether establishing new ones when converting from paper or revisiting existing ones when using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs). Every company is different and should consult legal counsel when working on these policies, however, there are some items that carriers can consider when initiating these conversations based on carrier best practices and the content of the ELD Mandate.
You may already have an Hours of Service policy that indicates drivers are to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3 (maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles) and the recording of information as defined in 49 CFR 395.8 (driver’s record of duty status) or 49 CFR 395.15 (AOBRDs). If that is already in place, just focus on the ELD Mandate.
Driver and device policies
Since devices are the responsibility of drivers, policies should cover how drivers should be using them. Devices are not to be tampered with, disconnected, or damaged. Remember — the device must be repaired within eight days under the rule. A sub-policy with this may involve what happens when replacing or repairing the device.
The driver is required to log in and out of the device at appropriate times and is to have a secure user name and password. A policy should reinforce security and remind drivers not to share their information with anyone.
Drivers are to certify their logs within 24 hours. If the driver takes longer than that, you may have many days of logs that need to be certified in another process that is actually not defined.
Carriers should consider a policy that deals with driver log editing that would hide a violation or increase available hours. It will be hard to hide with the technical specifications, but it may be worth thinking about.
Another policy to consider is one on editing out on-duty when it was done to increase the weekly available time or extending a sleeper berth to qualify. These policies need to be worded and administered carefully since drivers really try to do the correct things the majority of the time and there can be circumstances that can occur.
Policies affecting the back office
Unassigned driving events is now a requirement and a policy on editing and management of them from both the driver and administrator would be a good consideration.
Policies should ensure all responsible parties have a clear understanding of accepting and rejecting unassigned drive segments. If the driver rejects them on an ongoing basis and they actually apply to the driver, the carrier would send them down as suggested edits. If proof exists that the only possible person in the vehicle was that particular driver, then it would be advisable to identify a process to deal with the situation.
A suggested policy for managers and administrators is one on managing the carrier edits and the process of rejections from the driver, should they occur.
Reviews of logs by back office administrators will most likely generate some edits that have to be sent to the driver to accept. Remember that the driver has the ability to reject that edit and it will be recorded when rejected. Carriers should consider a policy to reconcile these type of situations and a way to communicate when there is a trend describing what the outcome is for not being compliant.
Prohibition of coercion policies
This regulation identifies what constitutes coercion to a driver for falsification logs and also suggests entities that may be involved in the coercion. This coercion needs to have a financial penalty of loss of pay, employment, or revenue to be in violation. There is a civil penalty and possibility of punitive damages should it be taken up by labor board for a court decision.
It may be advantageous to restate a policy, if not already completed, that indicates that personnel is not to suggest to a driver to accept loads when out of hours or allowed to extend any hours of duty. The detailed regulation can be found here.
While carriers are not required to create or deploy these policies, they are a good starting point for carriers that do need to write or edit policies and procedures related to the ELD Mandate.