A DOT Officer might ask a driver, are you using ELD's or AOBR's. Would you know the answer? Truckers can be fined for not knowing the right answer.
If you are driving for CFI and have seen this image on your screen then you are using ELD's, if not then your truck is equipped with an AOBR.
AOBR(D) - Automatic On Board Recorder Device
ELD - Electronic Logging Device
The ELD Mandate requires that all trucking companies use ELD's by December 2019. Until then most companies have been using AOBR's as a method of getting their feet wet before going in for the plunge.
Click on the image below for the ELD Mandate timeline.
Unlike the AOBR, ELD's do no allow any driving without first putting yourself on the drive line. What I do like is that when I get up in the morning and do my pretrip, I can tell the ELD to put me on "On-Driver" which puts me on line 4 for as long as I am checking things out. Then when I drive off it automatically changes to line 3, the drive line.
Also the method for explaining a reason for a change is convoluted.
For example; when you pull into a truckstop to fuel you must click on the "Status" icon and change to "On - Not Driver". To indicate that you are fueling you must now go to "Logs", then "Events" and scroll down to the last entry which should be you going to "On - Not Driver". Click on "Annotate" and type Fuel. When you submit the note and click the "Done" button "Fuel" will be correctly listed as the reason for going to "Line 4" in the first place. Once you are done fueling clicking the button in the top right, "Rest Break", will bring up a confirmation message. Confirm that is what you want and you will now be on "Line 1".
As I said it's a very convoluted way of doing things.
Another requirement of the ELD Mandate is a website where drivers can make edits to their logbook, print log pages, certify logs and so on. Don't try changing the Drive Line because you can't - even the folks in CFI's Safety Department can't do that.
I said that you can't drive the truck without being on the "Drive Line". That's not exactly accurate. There is an option for making a "Yard Move" but the rig can't move faster than 20mph. A truck can be driven while on "Rest Break" but not over 4mph. If you have read about a truckstop shooting involving a USA driver you will know that the shooter was ticked off by another driver who was driving slowly and apparently delaying him. I can see the new rules being the cause of such events in the future; hopefully not the shooting but certainly frayed tempers and probable fist fights.
The ELD mandate doesn't give truckers room to move. It doesn't bend and as we all know, if trees don't bend in the wind they will break. If rules don't bend, they too will break. I am hoping that the Government will eventually relent and allow a little flexibility in the ELD regulations.
There are other options available in the ELD system including "Off Duty Driving" which works as it did in the AOBR's. It does however ask for a reason which we have answered with, "Between Loads - Shopping/Restaurant, etc." Another answer has been, "Load secured on West Memphis Yard - Going to eat".
For the past few weeks we have been testing the new ELD system and it hasn't been easy. There have been problems, like when the system put Ellen on the Driving Line for one minute without explanation or warning. According to the record the truck moved one tenth of a mile, which it didn't. That meant when Ellen was ready to drive later that day, the 14 hour rule was enforcing a four hour limit to her drive time. Also while at home for ten days the truck remained in the same position in our driveway the whole time. It didn't move at all but according to the GPS system it did. Ellen's log showed her driving non stop for 48 hours followed by days of "Line 4", on duty not driving. The latter was easily corrected but the drive time? That can't be changed so it was marked as a PeopleNet error, otherwise it would have been an obvious violation she would have had to explain.
What I have learned from this is that I don't like technology as much as I thought and have been reminded that the Government doesn't have a clue and should be subject to these rules for just one day which might demonstrate how restrictive they are.