In my blog, Tampering 86(3) and Table 4, I reviewed the Data Diagnostic Events and Malfunctions from the Technical Standard Table 4 and the troubleshooting to mitigate these events. Data Diagnostic Events and Malfunctions are a continuous source of annoyance for ELD administrators and drivers. Without an interpretation guide from Alberta Transportation industry is flying blind and most carriers do not know how Data Diagnostic Events and Malfunctions are treated in a hours of service review in a NSC Audit.

There are ongoing efforts to revise the Technical Standard and allow Data Diagnostic Events to self-clear when the underlying issue is resolved. This would greatly benefit drivers and administrators by simplifying the process and reducing the burden of manual entries by the driver to clear these events.

These changes are urgently needed but, the wheels of government turn slowly. First, the proposed Technical Standard changes have to be adopted and a new Technical Standard written. The ELD providers will have to write new code, new programming needs to be tested and recertified. All of the ELD providers are either recently re-certified or are in the process of getting recertified. No ELD provider wants to pay for re-certification halfway through a 2-year certification term. The ELD certification process is already a massively expensive debacle (think ArriveScam). These ELD changes (if adopted) are at least a couple of years out.

In the interim I suggest using the NSC Standard 9 Hours of Service, Malfunctions section 78 (1) as the interpretation guide for Table 4 in the Technical Standard. NSC Standard 9 was developed by the CCMTA and endorsed by Transport Canada, Standard 9 focuses on the resulting Malfunctions rather than Data Diagnostic Events, aligning with the proposed revisions to the Technical Standard.

By following this strategy, carriers and ELD administrators can have a clearer understanding of how to interpret ELD-generated data while waiting for the necessary changes to be implemented. This interim solution offers a regulatory-supported approach to managing Data Diagnostic Events and Malfunctions effectively.

In my BLOG, “Why is trucking so F%&$ed up in Alberta? I can tell you why”, I explored the concern that Transportation and Economic Corridors have a vested interest in the economy and transportation safety becomes a secondary priority. Stop expecting Alberta Transportation to help you! Compliance and Oversight makes their budget from writing tickets, no matter how government tries to sell it.

Enforcement and education are two key components in a transportation regulatory framework, and they serve very different purposes. Enforcement uses penalties, fines, or legal actions to ensure compliance with regulations. It is a reactive approach that focuses on punishing non-compliance and deterring future violations. Education provides information, guidance, and resources to help industry understand and comply with regulations. It is a proactive approach that aims to promote awareness, understanding, and voluntary compliance.

Enforcement mechanisms are important for holding unsafe carriers and drivers accountable and maintaining whatever integrity is left of the commercial transportation industry. Where it all falls apart is when the regulatory bodies make the rules and don’t inform industry what those rules mean to them. Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors has had the ELD regulations for three years and carriers facing departmental intervention are clueless to the risks.

In a roadside stop ELD penalties can add up fast. An example is; a driver’s ELD was in a malfunction state for the day the driver was stopped and inspected and the 14 previous days. If the driver did not follow the malfunction protocol the driver could be charged under 78(1) failure to ensure ELD operates in good working order and is calibrated and maintained. That penalty is recommended to be $1000.00 per offence for the driver. That would be $15,000.00. The carrier could be facing: 78(5) Failure to repair or replace ELD within required timeframe. $1000.00 per offence is $15,000.00 for the carrier.  If the driver intentionally disconnecting the ELD to avoid accurate recording of the information that could be 86(3), Tamper with ELD $1000.00 per offence and the carrier could be facing 86(3) request require allow a person to tamper with ELD $2000.00 per offence. The carrier could be charged for every day because the carrier is supposed to be monitoring the driver, (87(1) and 78.3 (1)) using the carrier ELD dashboard and is aware of the malfunction. Imagine explaining to your boss how a driver earned the company a $32,000.00 penalty. Nobody gets a safety bonus this month!

This isn’t the good old days of trucking; drivers and carriers are monitored in real time and roadside officers are armed and have expanded powers including detention. Drivers need to take care during a roadside stop, speak respectfully and ask questions respectfully, even if the driver is correct and the officer wrong. In a roadside situation the person with the gun is always right and drivers need to remember that.

In summary, enforcement is about penalizing non-compliance, while education is about empowering compliance through awareness and understanding. Both enforcement and education are important tools in a regulatory framework, and a balanced approach that combines both can be effective in achieving regulatory goals. The problem is Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors Alberta is not balanced; the focus is enforcement with no education for the carriers to be successful. Why would Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors slit the throat of this cash cow when carriers can be kept in the dark and the cash keeps flowing?

Introduction:

Increasingly, carriers utilizing Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) face challenges with unidentified driving events that can lead to violations during audits and investigations. However, by leveraging the exempt driver functionality within the ELD system, carriers may mitigate those unidentified driving events.

Understanding the Exempt Driver Functionality:

All ELD systems come equipped with an exempt driver function, allowing carriers to configure accounts for drivers who may be exempt from ELD usage. For instance, drivers operating under the short-haul exemption within 160 km of their home terminal can be designated as exempt. This designation enables the sharing of ELD-equipped commercial motor vehicles between exempt and non-exempt drivers seamlessly. The Technical Standard. 3.1.3 Configuration of user account exempt from using an ELD:  As specified in 4.3.3.1.2 of the Technical Standard, an ELD must allow a motor carrier to configure an ELD for a driver who may be exempt from the use of an ELD. An example of an exempt driver would be a driver driving under the short-haul exemption under current HOS regulations (i.e. specified in regulation as within a radius of 160 km of the home terminal). Even though exempt drivers do not have to use an ELD, an ELD equipped CMV may be shared between exempt and non-exempt drivers and motor carriers can use this allowed configuration to avoid issues with unidentified driver data diagnostics errors.

Implementation and Training:

Drivers and administrators must be trained on how to utilize the exempt functionality in real-world scenarios. Administrators need to activate the exempt function when creating driver accounts, customizing it for specific drivers even if only a few will be using the exemption.

Compliance and Monitoring:

Drivers using the exempt functionality are not exempt from federal Hours of Service regulations but are excused from using a ELD to record the driver’s time. However, they still need to maintain alternative time records that meet regulatory criteria. Drivers must verify their exempt status periodically, as the ELD does not automatically maintain this status.

Challenges of the Exempt Driver Function:

Transitioning from exempt to non-exempt status can pose challenges, especially when the exemption ends, and ELD usage becomes mandatory. Drivers are required to enter time from paper logs or alternative records.

The Technical Standard 4.3.2.2.4 Indication of Situations Impacting duty-/driving-hour limitations: c) An ELD must provide the means to indicate additional hours that were not recorded for the current motor carrier during the current day or the required previous days specified in current HOS regulations:

(1) When this function is selected, the ELD must prompt the user to select one of the following

options:

i. Option 1: additional hours already recorded and reported in a RODS for another motor carrier.

ii. Option 2: additional hours not recorded since the driver was not required to keep a RODS immediately before the beginning of the day.

Conclusion:

The exempt driver functionality within ELD systems offers a valuable tool for carriers with drivers alternating between exempt and non-exempt status. While managing this transition may require additional effort from both drivers and administrators, the benefits of leveraging the exempt driver function for seamless operations and compliance monitoring cannot be overlooked. By understanding, training, and effectively implementing the exempt driver functionality, carriers may avoid unidentified driving events and avoid administrative penalties.

Table 4: Data Diagnostic Events and Malfunctions

Data diagnostic events and malfunctions are a continuous source of annoyance for carriers and drivers. Without an interpretation guide from Alberta Transportation industry must refer to the Federal Hours of Service Regulation and the Technical Standard.  

ELD Refresher

ELDs record and transmit data, that is it. ELDs are programmed with parameters to account for real life and allow for little variances. For example, the ELD will start recording when the vehicle reaches 8 kms a hour. ELDs are required to record certain pieces of data that are regulated in the Technical Standard. If any pieces of data are missing, and the driver does not manually input the missing data the ELD will record a data diagnostic event.

Connection Concerns

The majority of data diagnostic events are due to connectivity issues. ELDs rely on technology and technology can fail. ELDs can be hardwired or connected via Bluetooth. We all have cellphones that rely on the existing cellular network. Think about a ELD like a cellphone. When you fly to Mexico for vacation you turn off your phone or go into airplane mode for the duration of the flight. Your life does not disappear for those 5 hours, your still getting text messages and comments on your Instagram. The phone holds on to the data in the cloud and when you land and reconnect to a network all the data is waiting. ELDs work the exact same way. When a ELD reconnects to the network and data is missing or the data isn’t correct the ELD will record a data diagnostic event.

Carrier Due Diligence and Accountability

Data diagnostic events turn into malfunctions when not resolved. The driver and the company are aware of data diagnostic events and malfunctions due to:

  1. The ELD alerts the driver via a flashing light or a beeping device
  2. The company is alerted on the carrier dashboard
  3. The ELD prompts the driver to acknowledge and confirm that no link to the engine ECM may have an impact on data recording and compliance to current HOS regulations

Data diagnostic events can self-clear if conditions are met. Example the ELD has a period of no connection to Bluetooth. The device will record a data diagnostic event and when the device is reconnected the event is cleared. It is still recorded as a data diagnostic event because the event happened but, the event will be cleared and it is no longer a compliance issue.

The Federal Hours of Service Tampering:

86 (3) No motor carrier shall request, require or allow any person to, and no person shall, disable, deactivate, disengage, jam or otherwise block or degrade a signal transmission or reception, or re-engineer, reprogram or otherwise tamper with an ELD so that the device does not accurately record and retain the data that is required to be recorded and retained.

A ELD that is unplugged or disconnected from the internet is not accurately recording or retaining the data that is required to be recorded and retained as per the Hours of Service 86(3)

Table 4: Compliance Malfunction and Data Diagnostic Event Codes:

P          Power compliance malfunction

E          Engine synchronization compliance malfunction  

T          Timing compliance malfunction

L          Positioning compliance malfunction

R         Data recording compliance malfunction

S          Data transfer compliance malfunction

O         Other ELD detected malfunction

1          Power data diagnostic event

2          Engine synchronization data diagnostic event

3          Missing required data elements data diagnostic event

4          Data transfer data diagnostic event

5          Unidentified driving records data diagnostic event

6          Other ELD identified diagnostic event

Code 1: Power Data Diagnostic Event

Problem: The ELD is not fully powered/functional within one minute of the vehicle’s engine receiving power. “Fully powered” requires that the driver connect to the vehicle with the ELD within one minute of the vehicle powering on.

Solution: Ensure that the driver connects the ELD to a vehicle within one minute of the vehicle powering on.

Code P: Power Compliance Malfunction

Problem: The ECM connection is unplugged from the ELD and there is driving time over 30 minutes over 24-hour period.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD is connected to the vehicle ECM whenever the vehicle is in motion. Drivers should follow the Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code 2: Engine Synchronization Data Diagnostic Event

Problem: The ELD has lost ECM connectivity and can no longer acquire data within five seconds. Connectivity must be maintained between the ELD and the ECM while the vehicle is powered on.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD remains connected to the vehicle ECM while the vehicle is powered on.

Code E: Engine Synchronization Malfunction

Problem: The ELD loses connection to the vehicle ECM for a cumulative 30+ minutes of missing data: GPS, VIN, date/time, engine hours.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD remains connected to the vehicle while the vehicle is powered on. Engine Synchronization Malfunctions will clear on their own after 24 hours have passed since the last logged malfunction. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code T: Timing Compliance Malfunction

Problem: The time on the ELD varies more than 10 minutes from the designated home terminal time.

Solution: The ELD will automatically resync its local clock to the GPS time once it becomes valid. If the driver is using the ELD on a cellphone disable the Automatic Time Zone Detection or Automatic Time Zone Adjustment function. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code L: Positioning Compliance Malfunction

Problem:  The ELD cannot obtain a valid GPS position within five miles of the last valid position for over 60 minutes of driving in a 24-hour period.

Solution: Ensure a satellite GPS connection. Try moving the ELD near a clear, unobstructed view to the sky. Reboot the ELD to re-establish a satellite GPS connection.  Enter locations manually, manual locations will indicate a M in the latitude and longitude fields of the RODS and the CSV.

Positioning Compliance Malfunctions will clear after 24 hours have passed since the last logged malfunction. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code 3: Missing Required Data Elements Data Diagnostic Event

Problem: There is missing data: GPS, VIN, date/time, engine hours in the ELD event record.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD remains connected to the vehicle while the vehicle is powered on.

Code R: Data Recording Compliance Malfunction

Problem: The ELD can no longer record new event data due because it is full.

Solution: Ensure there’s an active internet connection before using Bluetooth to connect the ELD with the ECM. Keep the driver ELD app open for the data to transfer to the server. Do not force close the ELD app. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code 4: Data Transfer Data Diagnostic Event

Problem: The internal monitoring of the data fails and is unable to send the output file data.

Solution: Ensure there’s an active internet connection before using Bluetooth to connect the ELD with the ECM. Keep the driver ELD app open for the data to transfer to the server.

Code S: Data Transfer Compliance Malfunction

Problem: When a ELD records a data transfer data diagnostic event, the ELD increases the frequency of the monitoring to check every 24-hour period. If the ELD stays in the unconfirmed data transfer mode following the next three consecutive monitoring checks, the ELD must record a data transfer compliance malfunction.

Solution: Ensure there’s an active internet connection before using Bluetooth to connect the ELD with the ECM. Keep the driver ELD app open for the data to transfer to the server. Do not force close the ELD app. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code 6: Other ELD identified diagnostic event

Technical Standard 4.6.1.8 Other Technology-Specific Operational Health Monitoring. In addition to the required ELD monitoring the ELD provider may implement additional, data diagnostic detection and may use the ELD’s data diagnostic status indicator to alert the ELD’s non-compliant state to the driver.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD remains connected to the vehicle while the vehicle is powered on.

Code O: Other ELD detected malfunction.

Technical Standard 4.6.1.8 Other Technology-Specific Operational Health Monitoring. In addition to the required ELD monitoring the ELD provider may implement additional, malfunction detection and may use the ELD’s malfunction status indicator to alert the ELD’s malfunction or state to the driver.

Solution: Ensure that the ELD remains connected to the vehicle while the vehicle is powered on. Drivers should follow Malfunction criteria in the Hours of Service 78.

Code 5: Unidentified Driving Records Data Diagnostic Event

Problem: There is over 30 minutes of unidentified driving time for the vehicle over the last 24 hours. If the vehicle is moving and there is no driver logged in, the ELD records that time separately.

Solution: The solution for unidentified driving is for the carrier to assign unidentified driving time. Unidentified driving data diagnostic events will clear when the cumulative time for unidentified driving is less than 15 minutes for the current day plus the last 7 or 14 previous days. That means once all the unidentified time is cleared up the malfunction clears up. A truck driving down the street with no driver behind the wheel would be considered a problem, why is a ELD recording a truck with no driver behind the wheel not a problem?

Unidentified Driving Records Data Diagnostic Events will clear when the cumulative time for unidentified driving is less than 15 minutes for the current day plus the last 7 or 14 previous days.

The Federal Hours of Service Tampering:

86 (3) No motor carrier shall request, require or allow any person to, and no person shall, disable, deactivate, disengage, jam or otherwise block or degrade a signal transmission or reception, or re-engineer, reprogram or otherwise tamper with an ELD so that the device does not accurately record and retain the data that is required to be recorded and retained.

A ELD that is unplugged or disconnected from the internet is not accurately recording or retaining the data that is required to be recorded and retained as per the Hours of Service 86(3)

Contraventions Regulations (ScheduleXVIII): SOR/2023-137

86(3) (a) Tamper with ELD $1000.00 – driver

86(3)(b) Request, require or allow person to tamper with ELD – $2000.00 carrier

When you mix transportation in with economic corridors there is always the risk that safety will not be a priority over the economy. I want to address some critical safety gaps that have been ignored by TEC (Transportation and Economic Corridors) for years. Albertan’s should be deeply troubled by the neglect of crucial safety policies within Compliance and Oversight.

The Compliance and Oversight department monitors the overall safety of trucking companies in Alberta. Compliance and Oversight conducts audits and investigations to ensure compliance with the NSC standards. However, there are glaring issues that demand immediate attention:

1. **Non-Compliance with Intervention and Discipline Policies:** There is a disturbing trend of Compliance and Oversight failing to adhere to its own policies. Companies with significant safety violations are not being labeled as unsatisfactory, allowing them to operate under conditional status without proper intervention. This negligence has been repeatedly highlighted in audits by the Auditor General, yet no corrective actions have been taken.

2. **Flawed Third-Party Auditor (TPA) Program:** The TPA program, responsible for conducting NSC Standard 15 Audits on behalf of the Alberta government, is fundamentally flawed:

   - Auditors do not have encryption keys to be able to download complete RODS. This compromised data is used for hours of service reviews, impacting carrier safety and public road safety.

   - Lack of support for auditors, hindering their ability to communicate with TEC for assistance.

   - Inadequate training and monitoring of auditors, leading to unreliable audit information.

   - Inefficiencies in data processing and communication, undermining the accuracy and effectiveness of audits.

If any carrier failed a audit or got a penalty as a result of a audit by a TPA in the last 2 years, I would 100% appeal it. The TPA audits are not accurate because TPA auditors do not have the “key” to unlock the box, that contains the accurate RODS. Would you pay your income tax if you found out the T4’s information has been wrong for years? Pretty simple argument.

To address these urgent safety concerns, the following actions are proposed:

1. Immediate review of all TPA audits and compliance records since June 2022, to ensure accuracy and reliability.

2. Establish a streamlined process for handling TPA audit by providing encryption keys, enhancing transparency and accountability.

3. Enforce intervention and discipline policies rigorously, ensuring that unsafe carriers are marked unsatisfactory and penalized accordingly, promoting road safety and public confidence.

Continuing to ignore these issues and allowing unsafe carriers continued operation is validating the perception that Alberta highways are more dangerous today. Unfortunately, these issues will be ignored until there is another incident involving a Alberta trucking company that Compliance and Oversight deemed safe. 

Benefits of the ELD mandate and The Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313):

The Federal HOS was amended to mandate that drivers must use a certified Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to automatically record driving and working time instead of a paper logbook. The ELD section of the Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) (HOS) is 77 and the ELD mandate was fully enforced as of January 1, 2023. It is important to remember the HOS duty status limits (working time) and off duty time requirements did not change. 

A driver is never exempt from the HOS duty status time limits but, the driver may be exempt from using a ELD to record time. The driver, if operating under an exemption, must record duty status time using an alternative time record such as a paper log. ELDs have the ability to accommodate exempt and non-exempt drivers, Technical Standard 3.1.3 but, the driver must be trained to use the exempt driver functionality. 

What are the benefits of a ELD?

ELD benefits for the driver are:

ELD benefits for the carrier are:

ELD benefits for the public are:

How much do ELDs cost?

It depends, each provider is different but, the costs a carrier should be aware of are: device cost, lease or buy, contract length, data charges, cloud storage and support. A ELD works exactly like a cellphone and just like cellphone contracts need to be reviewed carefully. All ELDs function the same the only difference is the user interface for the driver and carrier. Some ELD providers offer a Federal and Provincial application if you run 2 companies.  

Why are ELDs important?

ELDs are important because it’s the law, if a driver has a serious incident without a functioning ELD the consequences can be grave for the carrier and the driver. Penalties for ELDs roadside and administrative in audit can get expensive. ELD penalties contribute to negative points on a carrier profile. 

How do I know if an ELD is compliant?

Certified ELD devices can be found on the Transport Canada website. Only certified ELDs can be used in Canada. The header page of a RODS contains the ELD Authentication Value, ELD Identifier and ELD Certification ID that confirm the authenticity. Motor carriers need to do required software updates to ensure the ELD remains compliant. 

Who is exempt from using ELDs in Alberta? 

Does Raven have an ELD solution?

No, Raven teaches motor carriers and drivers how to use the ELD they currently have.  We help carriers set up new ELDs to ensure compliance at the start. Raven can help motor carriers set up effective ELD monitoring policies to ensure compliance and limit liability in the event ELD data is needed as evidence. 

Let’s talk about ELDs and the Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) 

What do planes, trains and semi trucks all have in common? Regulations to ensure the operators of those vehicles do not work fatigued. The Federal Hours of Service HOS (SOR/2005-313) regulates the amount of time a commercial driver is allowed to drive, be on duty and mandatory off duty time limits. The intent of regulating a driver’s time is an attempt to mitigate the number and gravity of truck crashes by tackling driver fatigue.

The ELD mandate and The Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313):

All carriers holding a Federal Safety Fitness Certificate (SFC) must follow the Federal Hours of Service (HOS) SOR/2005-313, which includes the mandatory use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for tracking driver hours (HOS 77). It is important to recognize that some provinces in Canada like Alberta and Manitoba have both federal and provincial SFCs, leading to potential variations in HOS regulations between federal and provincial rules. Example, a carrier with a provincial SFC has no cycle limitations and can be on duty a total of 15 hours a day. A carrier with a federal SFC is limited to 70 hrs in 7 days or 120 hours in 14 days in a cycle and on duty a total of 14 hours in a day. Moreover, some provinces like Alberta did not adopt the ELD mandate for carriers with Provincial SFCs. Regardless of the specific type of Safety Fitness Certificate held by a carrier, all drivers operating regulated commercial motor vehicles are obligated to comply with the relevant Hours of Service duty status limits. This underscores the importance of understanding and adhering to the appropriate regulations to ensure compliance.

Responsibilities of motor carriers, drivers, shippers, etc.

The Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) section 4 outlines the responsibilities of motor carriers, drivers, shippers, consignees, safety officers, dispatchers, and others to help prevent driver fatigue.
They are responsible to ensure a drivers must not drive if:

Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) rules and ELD Technical Standard requirements:

ELDs record time by the second and track how much time is remaining in a drivers shift. The ELD alerts the driver 30 minutes before a duty status limit is reached, Technical Standard 4.6.4. Drivers and persons listed in Section 4 of the HOS must be trained in the rules of HOS. However, it is no longer imperative to understand the minutia of team split sleeper or deferral calculations because the ELD does and the ELD monitors and alerts the driver to available time. 

Fun facts about ELDs:

Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) rules and ELD considerations for drivers operating south of latitude 60°N:

On duty and driving limits: driving and on duty time is automatically recorded by the ELD. Team drivers must authenticate (log in) to the ELD, (Technical Standard 4.1.4 b). The ELD monitors and calculates time concurrently for team driving conditions such as; team split sleeper berth.  

Federal Hours of Service (SOR/2005-313) rules and ELD considerations for drivers operating north of latitude 60°N:

Operating zone is set by the motor carrier during the drivers account creation (Technical Standard 7.46). The ELD will track and alert the driver 30 minutes before a duty status is reached. North of 60 covers three territories: Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. There are no daily limits only work shift limits. 

Off-duty deferrals: Technical Standard 7.44 and 7.45

A driver is allowed to defer 2 hours of off duty time to the following day. This allows drivers to obtain two additional driving and on-duty hours in a 24-hour period (Day 1). Then, they can take the required two hours off immediately the next day (Day 2).

The ELD will track and alert the driver to the time requirements ensuring compliance to the regulation. 

Certified ELDs are now required for commercial carriers as part of the law. Carriers must understand how ELDs work and how to review the data they generate. Previously, drivers used paper logbooks to track their time, with the burden of accurate recording falling on the driver. Carriers were responsible for monitoring these logs, but they provided historical information. With ELDs offering real-time certified data, it is now the motor carrier's duty to actively monitor drivers through the ELD's features and confirm the accuracy of their records of duty status (RODS). In case of a serious collision, the carrier can no longer shift blame to the driver, claiming ignorance of any violations of driving hours, as they are now expected to constantly monitor and verify compliance using the ELD data. 

One of the most convenient features of smartphones is the ability of the phone to adjust time zone to match your physical location. This feature is known as "Automatic Time Zone Detection" or "Automatic Time Zone Adjustment." This functionality ensures that the device's clock remains accurate and synced with the local time wherever you may be traveling. Most of us never think twice about this technology it just happens seamlessly. When you get off the plane and connect to a network, it is magically the correct time. 

The problem:

The Technical Standard allows for a ELD device to be hardwired or a handheld device (smartphone) connected via Bluetooth, Technical Standard 1.3. RODS data is captured in the time zone of the driver’s home terminal, Technical Standard 7.40 & 7.41. If the ELD UTC time does not match the time zone the device is in, by more than 10 minutes, the ELD will record a Timing Compliance Malfunction, Technical Standard 4.6.1.3. If a driver has the ELD on a smartphone and does not disable the Automatic Time Zone Detection or Automatic Time Zone Adjustment function of the phone, the ELD will record the Timing Compliance Malfunction when the time zone changes.

The solution is:

1. Download the ELD on a tablet and disable the Automatic Time Zone Detection or Automatic Time Zone Adjustment function.

2. Disable the Automatic Time Zone Detection or Automatic Time Zone Adjustment function on the driver’s smartphone but, be prepared the driver will be late or early for everything. 

Having a ELD on a driver’s smartphone is convenient but, comes with other implications. Every trucking company needs to decide what ELD application works best for them. Speak with your ELD provider about your business to determine what solution will work for you.

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are subject to roadside inspections and NSC Standard 15 audit inspections. If a driver or vehicle is placed out of service, the driver and/or carrier would be subject to a written warning, tickets and/or points on the Carrier Profile. If the non-compliance is serious the driver and/or vehicle would be placed Out Of Service (OOS) until corrected. These are considered HOS violations. Not all provinces and territories follow the Federal Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVIII): SOR/2023-137, which means that penalties for violations can vary depending on where the violation occurs. The penalties outlined in the contravention regulations are different for the driver and carrier involved in the violation. Specifically, carrier penalties are set at double the amount of driver penalties in order to ensure that responsibility is appropriately distributed between the driver and carrier. 

My top 5 common and avoidable driver ELD (Electronic Logging Device) HOS violations: 

  1. ELD device not mounted in view of the driver (roadside detected violation)

77 (1) A motor carrier shall ensure that each commercial vehicle that it operates is equipped with an ELD that meets the requirements of the Technical Standard and shall ensure that it is mounted in a fixed position during the operation of the commercial vehicle and is visible to the driver when the driver is in the normal driving position. Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVIII): SOR/2023-137 suggested penalty is $1000.00. 

How to avoid: Install a $20.00 magnetic cell phone holder if the ELD is on the driver’s phone and not a wired connection. 

  1. Missing ELD information packet (roadside detected violation)

77 (7) The motor carrier shall ensure that each commercial vehicle that it operates carries an ELD information packet. Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVIII): SOR/2023-137 suggested penalty is $600.00. 

How to avoid: Ensure each CMV contains an information packet that contains; (a) a user’s manual; (b) an instruction sheet for the driver describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and the steps required to generate and transfer the data with respect to the driver’s hours of service to an inspector; (c) an instruction sheet for the driver describing the measures to take in the event that the ELD malfunctions; and (d) a sufficient number of records of duty status to allow the driver to record the information required under section 82 for at least 15 days.

  1. Unidentified driving time (audit and roadside detected violation)

77 (8) The motor carrier shall ensure that the driver records the information related to their record of duty status and the driver is required to record that information in a complete and accurate manner.

78.1 A motor carrier shall create and maintain a system of accounts for ELDs that is in compliance with the Technical Standard and that (a) allows each driver to record their record of duty status in a distinct and personal account; and (b) provides for a distinct account for the driving time of an unidentified driver.

Technical Standard 4.1.5 Non-Authenticated Driving of a CMV

87 (1) A motor carrier shall monitor the compliance of each driver with these Regulations.

Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVIII): SOR/2023-137 suggested penalty 77(8) is $500.00 for the driver $1000.00 for the carrier. 78.1 suggested penalty is $1000.00 for the carrier. 87(1) suggested penalty is $2000.00 for the carrier.

How to avoid: Carrier to assign all unidentified time.

  1. Data Diagnostic Events (roadside and audit detected violation)

Technical Standard 4.6.1 Compliance Self-Monitoring, Malfunctions and Data Diagnostic Events Table 4 

86 (3) No motor carrier shall request, require or allow any person to, and no person shall, disable, deactivate, disengage, jam or otherwise block or degrade a signal transmission or reception, or re-engineer, reprogram or otherwise tamper with an ELD so that the device does not accurately record and retain the data that is required to be recorded and retained.

Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVIII): SOR/2023-137 suggested penalty 86 (3) is $2000.00 for the carrier.

Data diagnostic events: Table 4 Technical Standard

(Code 1) Power Data Diagnostic Event: Problem ELD is not fully powered/functional within one minute of the vehicle’s engine receiving power. How to avoid: Plug the ELD in.

(Code 2) Engine Synchronization Data Diagnostic Event: Problem the ELD loses ECM connectivity to any of the required data sources and can no longer acquire updated values for the required ELD parameters within five seconds of the need. Connectivity must be maintained while the vehicle is powered on. How to avoid/ fix the connectivity where the ELD loses ECM connectivity to the required data sources, you can try the following steps:

(Code 3) Missing Required Data Elements Data Diagnostic Event: Problem there are missing data elements (like GPS location) in the ELD event record. How to avoid: Instruct drivers to input missing information when ELD prompted.

(Code 4) Data Transfer Data Diagnostic Event: Problem the internal monitoring of the data transfer test fails and is unable to send the output file data. How to correct: consult with technical support

(Code 5) Unidentified Driving Records Data Diagnostic Event: Problem there is over 30 minutes of unidentified driving time for the vehicle over the last 24 hours. Unidentified Driving Records Data Diagnostic Events will clear when the cumulative time for unidentified driving is less than 15 minutes. How to correct: Assign all unidentified driving time.

  1. Malfunctions (roadside and audit detected violation)

Technical Standard 4.6.1 Compliance Self-Monitoring, Malfunctions and Data Diagnostic Events Table 4 

(Code P) Power Compliance Malfunction 

(Code E) Engine Synchronization Malfunction 

(Code L) Positioning Compliance Malfunction 

(Code T) Timing Compliance Malfunction – Drivers using a smartphone as a device must disable the Automatic Time Zone Detection or Automatic Time Zone Adjustment.

(Code R) Data Recording Compliance Malfunction

(Code S) Data Transfer Compliance Malfunction 

How to avoid: Malfunctions occur when Data Diagnostic Events are not corrected, fix the data, avoid the Malfunction. When a Malfunction is detected, the driver is to stop, switch to paper logs and follow the Malfunction criteria 78 (2)(3)(4). 

That’s my top 5 and the easiest to avoid and correct. In my experience 75% of issues are driver training and safety officers not understanding how ELDs work. It’s not the device, the ELD records data, the ELD does not interpret what that data means. With ELDs providing a digital record of a driver’s activity it is important for carriers to recognize the level of liability that entails if your driver is involved in a serious incident. 

A ELD (electronic logging device) is a device that automatically records information using the CMV (commercial motor vehicle) ECM (Electronic Control Module), truck sensors and GPS trilateration to automatically record driving time. Fun fact, February is Black History Month and we need to acknowledge GPS was invented by mathematician Gladys West who was the second black woman to be hired to work as a programmer for the US Navy. As a CMV is moving the ELD is receiving information from the ECM and comparing that information to GPS position to monitor compliance to the Federal Hours of Service HOS (SOR/2005-313) and the Technical Standard. 

How does it work? 

A driver’s day in ELD sequence.  

What information does an ELD record?

The ELD records all the required information from the Federal Hours of Service HOS (SOR/2005-313) and additional device compliance health monitoring in the Technical Standard. The data collected is related to: carrier identification, driver identification, vehicle identification, driver location information at prescribed intervals and each change of duty status, a running and cumulative odometer and engine hours total, duty status totals and ELD identification information. 

The drivers’ daily, workshift, cycle and off-duty requirements are continuously monitored, and a driver is alerted within 30 minutes of reaching a duty status limit. 

The ELD continuously monitors the device functionality and alerts the driver if any data is missing or there is a connectivity issue. Drivers are prompted to provide missing information if data is not automatically recorded. Drivers are alerted to uncertified RODS and missing data elements. Unidentified driving records must be accepted or rejected by the driver and no other information can be entered until unidentified driving time is resolved, Technical Standard 4.1.5 3).

The data from the ELD is shared between the drivers in-truck device and a dashboard or portal for the motor carrier to monitor the entire fleet. All the data is stored on the cloud for 6 months and can be retrieved by the carrier for inspection. The motor carrier is expected to monitor the drivers continuously using the information generated from the ELD. A driver should never be in a out of service condition for HOS because as soon as the driver is alerted to a problem the driver is supposed to immediately stop and alert the carrier. The driver and carrier are supposed to work together to resolve the issue and if the issue cannot be resolved follow the OOS criteria. The data doesn’t lie and the data doesn’t go away.

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