2 Key Things the FMCSA Wants You to Know About the ELD Mandate

September 20, 2019

With the final ELD deadline less than three months away, it’s more important than ever to understand how the new policy is being interpreted and implemented.

That’s why a few members of the Samsara team recently attended the FMCSA’s public meeting on ELD Technical Specifications in Washington D.C.—not only to help inform how we build our product but also to advocate for our customers and ensure they have the information they need to make a smooth transition.

Throughout the meeting, the FMCSA offered a few key clarifications about the ELD mandate. Here are two of the most important takeaways, straight from the source.

1. Wireless Web Services is the preferred data transfer method during roadside inspections

There are two approved methods for digitally transferring your ELD data directly to the DOT during a roadside inspection:

  1. Wireless Web Services—This option will send your data to the DOT via a secure server.

  2. Email—This option will send your data to the DOT via an encrypted email.

While the ELD mandate requires that both methods are available, the FMCSA has found that email is less reliable than the Wireless Web Services option. Therefore, the FMCSA is recommending that drivers use the Wireless Web Services method during roadside inspections.

What does this mean for your fleet?

One of the most commonly cited ELD violations is “unable to perform data transfer,” largely because ELDs are still relatively new for drivers, and the data transfer process requires some familiarization. Help your drivers avoid this mistake by training them on how to transfer data records during a DOT inspection. Make sure to highlight that Wireless Web Services is the preferred transfer method.

How Samsara can help

In the Samsara Driver App, Wireless Web Services is currently the first option on the DOT Inspection Transfer menu. Let your drivers know that during a roadside inspection, they should use this option.

You can also use our training video below as a helpful refresher on how to use the Samsara Driver App during DOT inspections:

2. The final ELD deadline is firm—don’t expect an extension

It’s true that the FMCSA sometimes issues extensions for big regulatory changes. In fact, they just recently proposed an extension to the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, another hot topic for fleet managers trying to stay compliant.

But when it comes to the final ELD deadline, the FMCSA emphasized that the December 16 deadline is firm—don’t expect an extension or exemption. By December 16, you will need to replace any AOBRDs currently installed in your vehicles with FMCSA-approved ELDs in order to avoid penalties, including possible fines and vehicles being put out of service.

What does this mean for your fleet?

Be prepared to make the switch to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019. If you still have AOBRDs in your vehicles, start the transition now to ensure you have enough time to familiarize your fleet with the new system.

How Samsara can help

Samsara offers a 30 day free trial of our complete ELD solution, which includes everything you need to stay compliant as well as features to help you operate your fleet more efficiently, including real-time GPS tracking, routing and dispatch, and customized reporting and alerts. If you haven’t made the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs yet, consider starting a free trial now so that you have ample time to train your drivers on the new system.

For a step-by-step guide to transitioning from AOBRDs to ELDs, check out our latest eBook:

Takeaways for your fleet

Based on the FMCSA’s guidance, there are two key things you can do to make sure your fleet stays compliant and is prepared for roadside inspections:

  1. Make sure you have an ELD solution in place before December 16, 2019. The FMCSA has emphasized that there will not be any extensions or exemptions to the final deadline. If you are still operating with AOBRDs after December 16, you may face penalties including fines and vehicles being put out-of-service.

  2. Tell your drivers to use Wireless Web Services to transfer ELD data during a DOT inspection. The FMCSA has found that Wireless Web Services is the most reliable transfer method and is recommending it is used rather than email.

If you’re a current Samsara customer, know that we’re always here to help. Check out our help center for how-to articles and guides, or get in touch with a support representative 24/7 via chat, phone, or email.

If you’re not a Samsara customer yet, reach out anytime at sales@samsara.com or request a free trial of our complete ELD solution to see how we can help your fleet stay compliant and operate more efficiently, sustainably, and safely.

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