Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are a digital hardware and software solution used by truck drivers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) companies to track hours of service (HOS) compliance in real-time. All commercial fleet drivers must maintain a Record of Duty Status (RODS), which in the past, was done manually with pen and paper. In December 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published its final electronic logging device rule, or the ELD mandate. It stated that all CDL drivers must have installed ELDs in their vehicles to record HOS by December 2017
By automating the driver logging system, not only does it save drivers the hassle of manually logging every hour they drive, it improves the accuracy of hours recorded. However, the data recorded is not always perfect. For example, a driver might forget to stop recording his on-road hours while on break. In that case, the driver will need to correct this error to ensure an accurate RODS.
In this article, we will outline the rules surrounding editing ELD logs, who can make edits, and how to make these edits.
Are You Allowed to Edit ELD Logs?
Simply put, yes. A driver and their carrier can edit an ELD log to fix a mistake or input missing information as long as they are acting per FMCSA rules. For example, if a driver stops overnight and forgets to change his status to off-duty, an edit must be made to the log.
An edit is simply a change to the ELD record; it does not erase or override the original record. An annotation is a note related to the edit, explaining why a certain edit or correction has been made. It is required that all edits must be accompanied by an annotation. As a general rule, only existing events can be edited.
How to Edit ELD Logs
Although the exact interface will vary from software to software, most of the changes will probably follow the same general process. Find the daily logs within your software and select the daily log you wish to edit. If your log has already been signed off on, you must unsign it to continue. When editing an existing event, the only part you will be able to edit is the status of the event. Everything else has been automatically recorded and cannot be adjusted.
The changes you can make will likely be ‘Off-duty driving’ or ‘On-duty yard move.’ For example, let’s say you forgot to record when you arrived at your customer’s warehouse and pulled your truck around to the back to off-load their goods. You should then select ‘On-duty yard move’ for the amount of time you spent on that move. Once again, the exact procedure will vary depending on your software, but the idea is the same.
Next, you will have to make a note (annotation) describing the edit, as required by the FMCSA. Additionally, you can add a ‘past duty’ status if you forgot to click ‘on-duty’ at the beginning of a shift. Once you are finished with your edits and annotations, all you have to do is re-sign and the edit will be recorded on the log.
Restrictions on ELD Log Edits
According to the ELD mandate, there are restrictions on the type of data that can be adjusted by the driver or the authorized fleet staff.
Anything that isn’t automatically recorded cannot be edited. Essentially, only the status of an ongoing event can be recorded. ELDs are designed to automatically record as long as the CMV is in motion. This is classified as driving time, and there is no option to edit it or revise it as non-driving time.
Non-driving events (e.g. on-duty, off-duty, and sleeping) cannot be changed to ‘driving events.’ The same goes the other way around except for being able to convert driving events to off-duty driving or on-duty yard move. Non-driving statuses can also be added in hindsight.
Here is a list of the edits which are not allowed:
- Drive time
- ELD malfunctions (software issues)
- Vehicle engine (turning on and off)
- A driver’s login/logout activity
Who Can Make Edits
Both drivers and authorized carrier staff can make edits. However, you cannot edit logs that are months or years old. Whether the driver or carrier personnel makes the edit, they must include an annotation, as previously mentioned.
However, the driver has the final say and has the responsibility of confirming the accuracy of the edits. For example, if an authorized staff member makes an edit that the driver denies being accurate, the edit will still be kept on the record. The ELD is a record of the driver's RODS, however the reason it can be edited by both the driver and the staff is to ensure equal integrity and responsibility.
Though ELDs’ automated technology makes your life easier, that does not mean they do not require editing and annotation to reflect events accurately. It can seem confusing as to what information can be edited, by who, and finally, how to perform edits, but with the guidelines above, you should be able to draw the distinction.
It is important to remember that data can be edited by both the driver and authorized fleet staff and that any edits will not override the original copy. Learning how to perform edits on your log will ensure the most accurate HOS compliance on your RODS, which is the end goal for both safety and compliance. If your fleet is ready to incorporate some bleeding-edge safety technology into your vehicles, check out Azuga fleet management software.