Omnitracs18a Photo: Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner
CVSA's Kerri Wirachowsky (left) confers with Tom Cuthbertson of Omnitracs.

Transfer 'mechanism' for ELD data remains a sticking point

Roadside inspectors still adjusting to new way they will receive electronic logbook information from truck drivers.

NASHVILLE, TN. As the April 1 full-enforcement date for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate approaches, the uppermost issue in the minds of roadside inspectors is how the “transfer mechanism” for obtaining electronic logbook data from trucks drivers will work. That's according to Kerri Wirachowsky, director of roadside inspection programs for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

Speaking here at the Omnitracs Outlook 2018 user conference, Wirachowsky said the biggest change for most inspectors is that, when dealing with pre-ELD automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), they would give a truck driver their email address, to which a complete PDF of the driver’s logbook could then be sent. “That way, if the weather was bad, they could focus first on the vehicle inspection and then sit in their vehicle and call up the driver’s complete logbook on their laptop,” she noted.

With ELDs, however, new security protocols have altered that process. Now an electronic record of duty status or “eRODS” text file is uploaded from the device to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) web portal – a text file that is “locked” with a code unique to the individual inspector, explained Tom Cuthbertson, vice president of research for Omnitracs. That code allows them to retrieve just that specific driver’s ELD data from the portal using eRODS software, which then “unlocks” the text file and displays it in a logbook graph for the inspector to review.

“We’ve had to wrap more security around logbook information; that’s why we can’t use email addresses anymore,” he said.

Cuthbertson noted that the eRODS transfer system is now live and that 11 states – and possibly more – are now actively enforcing the ELD mandate.

CVSA’s Wirachowsky added that most of the questions she is getting from inspectors revolve around the use of the new eRODS protocol. “It’s going to take a while to use it and understand it but they’ll get there,” she said. “Most just haven’t used it enough yet.” Wirachowsky also noted that most inspectors are planning to use this "web services" method for obtaining electronic logbook information from drivers; "We have not yet heard of anyone using the USB/local transfer method," she added.

Compliance with the ELD mandate is also hitting a high note, according to an ongoing survey conducted by CarrierLists. The firm said that, according to its polling of motor carriers large and small, the ELD compliance rate jumped to 93%, while its three-week moving average hit 90% for the first time since it began conducting this survey back in September of 2016. 

One of the primary reasons for the steady move up is due to the rapid rise in compliance rates of short haul/regional fleets, noted Kevin Hill, president and founder of CarrierLists. “Longer haul OTR [over-the-road] fleets have been trending around 95% and above ever since the original December 18 deadline [last year], while regional fleets have been stuck in the low 80% range,” he said. “Since late January though ELD compliance rates for shorter haul fleets have spiked almost 20 points.” 

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