ELD self-certification under scrutiny

October 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Although OOIDA fought for years against an electronic logging mandate of any kind, it also argued against FMCSA’s allowing ELD providers to self-certify.

A recent review by the OOIDA Business Services Department calls into question the accuracy of FMCSA’s ELD registry. Meanwhile, a recent bulletin from the FBI’s Cyber Division called out the vulnerabilities in the devices and exposed the lack of cybersecurity or quality assurance requirements for ELD suppliers.

Based on a review completed in early August, out of the 267 ELD providers listed on the FMCSA registry OOIDA was only able to confirm that 130 of them were still selling the devices. Only 100 were confirmed as being compliant for International Fuel Tax Agreement reporting.

A struggling economy and changes to the hours-of-service rules both appear to have led to a dwindling number of ELD providers. According to the FMCSA website, 27 ELD providers self-revoked their certification.

Continental Automotive Systems announced in April that it was discontinuing its RoadLog line of ELDs. The company quit selling the devices on May 1 and said it would continue to provide service and technical support to existing customers through Aug. 14.

The company worked with KeepTruckin to provide an offer to RoadLog customers to make a transition to a new ELD provider. According to a representative of KeepTruckin on Aug. 13, 90% of RoadLog’s ELD customers made the switch as of July 31. RoadLog reportedly had more than 15,000 subscribers.

While the transition was seemingly a smooth one for most of RoadLog’s former customers, it can’t be understated that providers of a government-mandated service going out of business can create a lot of pressure on motor carriers, especially owner-operators and other small trucking businesses.

Most truckers need an ELD to remain compliant. In addition, OOIDA reminds truck drivers about the importance of downloading the information off an ELD to keep for your records.

“You’ve got to maintain your records,” said Tom Crowley of OOIDA’s Business Services Department. “Different entities want to audit you as a driver, and, as a motor carrier, you’ve got to be able to provide your documentation. You’ll need to pull that information before they go out, because you’ll need it years down the road.”

OOIDA advises truckers to regularly download their records, but an ELD provider that goes out of business can leave many truckers in a mad scramble to get that information.

In September 2017, OOIDA led a coalition of 31 organizations against enacting the ELD mandate. The coalition said there were “significant technological and real-world concerns” that hadn’t been addressed by FMCSA. Among those concerns, the groups cited the devices not being certified, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, the ability of law enforcement to access data, and connectivity problems in remote areas of the country.

Nearly three years into the mandate, many of those concerns still haven’t been addressed.

In the past year, however, the FMCSA has provided truckers an opportunity to file grievances regarding ELD providers by including them as a category on the National Consumer Complaint Database.

The website says that complaints can be filed for such issues as a motor carrier not believing the device adheres to the minimum requirements of the ELD rule. Truckers can describe the problem using up to 4,000 characters. FMCSA also notes that a motor carrier seeking to extend the period of time permitted for repair, replacement or service of one or more ELDs may request an extension per 49 CFR 395.34 of the regulations.

An FMCSA spokesperson said that the agency has received complaints regarding ELD providers but that the agency’s authority covers only instances of noncompliance with the rule’s technical performance requirements. The spokesperson said that most of the complaints received have fallen outside of the scope.

For complaints within FMCSA’s authority, the agency said it will review the complaint carefully and, if warranted, initiate an investigation. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.