Navigating the waters of electronic logging device (ELD) compliance can be tricky. ELD compliance is required by Dec. 18, 2017, while the extension for automatic on-board recording device (AOBRDs) is Dec. 16, 2019.

Ten steps to help ensure you are in compliance with the upcoming electronic logging device (ELD) mandate are:

STEP 1: Determine Compliance Needs

At this point, you should know if you have drivers required to comply with the ELD mandate, but if you are still uncertain, check out, “All About the ELD Mandate,” for more information.

In short, if you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it’s time to get started:

  1. Are your drivers currently required to keep records of duty status (RODS)?
  2. Do your drivers currently utilize an AOBRD?
  3. Do your drivers not qualify for short-haul exemptions?

STEP 2: Get Started

Don’t delay on getting started with compliance activities. If you choose or need to utilize an ELD, don’t wait until the last minute to do your research. You will need to fully understand the rules for compliance requirements so start with researching the rule itself for details related to supporting documents and other requirements the carrier or fleet operator will need.

STEP 3: Create a Plan

When starting any new program or making changes to your operation, it’s always smart to start with an implementation plan. Note the deadlines for compliance if you already have AOBRDs or if you are looking to fully comply with ELDs and plan out implementation accordingly.

And, once you create a plan, stick to it and the timeline you set in place.

STEP 4: Inform Your Drivers

Keeping drivers informed on any changes related to their day-to-day operations is key to successful implantation. If you currently utilize AOBRDs and will be transitioning to ELDs by the deadline, let your drivers know right away. Consider including some driver stakeholders in the selection process.

STEP 5: Select a Solution

Selecting an ELD solution also requires some research. If you decide to (or need to) utilize an ELD solution, be sure to narrow down the options. Create a list of possible questions you can ask about the solution that relates specifically to your fleet operation. When asking questions, some important ones to include are whether the solution meets ELD certifications and offers support that matches your hours of business, among others.

STEP 6: Install & Train

Once you have selected the system that will best fit your fleet needs, it’s time to install it into your vehicles. Take time to ensure that solutions are installed correctly and work with your provider(s) to get the most out of your system.

Once the system is installed, be sure to arrange the time to train employees and drivers on proper operations. Training drivers to use the solution efficiently will go a long way toward cost savings and overall driver happiness. Training office staff on what paperwork they need to retain and for how long will also need to be done.

STEP 7: Test the System

As soon as drivers and necessary employees are trained, test the system before the compliance deadline. Don’t wait until December 15 to go live! Testing the system allows all users to work out any problems before the compliance deadline, which can reduce stress and allow for a much smoother transition. Once the system is in action, take the time to determine any issues and work out any possible problems with utilization or reporting.

STEP 8: Make Necessary Changes

Once you have determined any needs to ensure a smooth transition and continued operation, make the necessary changes and test the system again. Provide any additional training that may be needed for drivers and carrier staff, and work with your provider(s) to ensure you are getting the most out of your solution.

STEP 9: Prepare for Possibilities

Audits from the DOT are always a possibility and it’s smart to be prepared at all times. Conduct a mock audit and be prepared by ensuring all required documentation and reports are available and in compliance with regulations. Audits can be stressful but are necessary. Don’t let it become a pain point, if an auditor calls, know you have everything in line and are fully compliant.

STEP 10: Celebrate!

At this point, your drivers and operation are fully ELD-compliant. The system has been tested, compliance has been measured, and you are ready to celebrate your victory at completing a full ELD implementation before the December deadline. Celebrate!