Everything You Wanted to Know about ELDs But Were Scared to Ask

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10 SEP

Everything You Wanted to Know about ELDs But Were Scared to Ask.

Hours of service and the differences between interstate and Florida’s intrastate rules were explored in our first blog post, Part 1. For Part 2, let’s explore Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, and their importance to Florida’s economy and public safety.

Starting January 1, 2020, commercial motor vehicles driving non-agricultural products more than 150 airmiles are required to have ELDs. These devices ensure drivers are complying with Florida’s intrastate hours of services rules.

Florida is only the second state to require electronic reporting for its intrastate hours of service rules. This is important in a state that spans two time zones and has more than a hundred thousand miles of roads.

The state’s growing population and economy require goods – all types of things from construction materials to soap to raw materials. A shipment of machine equipment that arrives into Port Everglades and needs to be delivered to a new factory in North Florida will travel several hundred miles, but stay within the same state. Now, that truck carrying machine equipment will be required to have an ELD.

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What is an Electronic Logging Device?

An electronic logging device is synchronized with a vehicle’s engine, recording when a driver is driving (on duty), taking a break (still on duty), or not driving (off duty). It transmits this data into what’s called an electronic log book.

An electronic log book can contain multiple records. It is important to customize these records, based on a state’s regulations and your truck’s needs.

The trucking industry across the state is varied. Some trucks are owned by large companies, like JB Hunt, but owner-operators make up a significant part of the market. These owner-operators have their own truck. Small companies with 15 trucks or less are a key provider of logistic services. As of January 1, all of these trucks require ELDs if they engage in interstate or intrastate commerce.

Key Features You Need in an ELD

Drivers are human beings (for now – automated vehicles are a topic of discussion for another day). People make errors. ELDs prevent hours of service reporting errors. In 2015, the Florida Department of Transportation identified improper log book reporting as their #1 violation during commercial motor vehicle inspections.

Manual log books often contain reporting errors. ELDs have tools like Audit Guard to protect these errors. It analyzes the electronic logs in real time to identify potential problems. This tool ensures compliance in advance of any inspections.

In Florida, commercial vehicles driving less than 150 air miles are exempt from the electronic reporting requirements. An ELD needs to be able to track when a driver stays solely within the 150 air mile radius or goes beyond, triggering the need to keep an electronic log book for inspection.

The Geospace Lab’s ELD is GPS enabled, which supports the automated logging of a location and time on duty. This type of feature ensures compliance with Florida’s Hours of Service rules.

Safety is the Priority

Safety is the top priority for any elected official and road safety is an important aspect of public safety. Anyone who is driving for a significant amount of time can get tired. Establishing Hours of Service rules is a critical road safety tactic to reduce the number of tired drivers on the road. Tired drivers lead to crashes and potentially life-threatening incidents.

The safe movement of goods and people on our highways is critical to well-being, not only economically for our state but individually, for our population. ELDs can reduce the amount of tired drivers on Florida’s roads by accurately tracking how long a driver has been on duty and off duty.

Hours of service rules can be complicated, but an ELD can provide piece of mind for any driver. As a critical road safety tool, ELDs can improve efficiency for drivers, inspectors, and the millions of people who rely on Florida’s roads each day.

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Elizabeth Whitton (Author)

Elizabeth Whitton is a 7th generation Floridian, who feels equally at home traveling the back roads of North Florida or I-4 through downtown Orlando. She spent the last decade working with cities and regions across the United States with a significant amount of her time focused on addressing transportation issues in Central Florida. Her goal is to effectively communicate complex policy issues and research to a broad audience. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Alabama and Florida State University.

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