FMCSA Faces Problems with ELD Technology As Enforcement Starts

March 29, 2018 by Clarissa Hawes

As regulators start enforcement of a rule that makes truckers use digital driving time trackers in their big rigs, the agency in charge of the regulation conceded there are still problems with the technology.

Drivers are having trouble getting the devices, known as ELDs, to track time and transfer data accurately. Some ELDs are reporting that truckers are hundreds of miles away from their actual locations.

Starting Sunday drivers of heavy-duty trucks must have electronic logging devices in their vehicles.

Regulators say ELDs will ensure that truckers comply with a federal hours-of-service rule. The rule limits driving to no more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour workday. Drivers must then be off duty for 10 consecutive hours.

Although the rule started in December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gave truckers a grace period and delayed enforcement until April 1. Truckers could be placed out of service and unable to drive for 10 hours if they don’t have a working ELD beginning on Sunday.

But spot enforcement such as issuing citations has started in some regions.

George Madsen, a trucker driving in Iowa, said he received a citation for not having a working ELD back on January 23. Madsen said his Rand McNally device was not displaying his correct driving time. He was cited by an Iowa Department of Transportation inspector for falsifying his driving logs and other infractions. Madsen is fighting the charges and has a hearing scheduled for April 18.

Madsen said he’s worried that the violations would endanger his commercial driving license and livelihood.

The FMSCA on Thursday told Trucks.com it discovered that some of the 330 ELD devices on the market do not meet the technical specifications for data transfer used to show driving hours to law enforcement. The agency declined to say how many ELD models are not working properly.

“There have been some snags in the data transfer process with some of the providers,” Joe DeLorenzo, director of enforcement and compliance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told Trucks.com.

“We’ve been working with the providers that are having those issues to get them squared away,” DeLorenzo said.

Truckers told Trucks.com they are having trouble with their devices and even though they have reached out to the vendors, don’t believe the problems will be resolved by Sunday’s deadline.

“I used the Rand McNally 50 and it never did work, I could never get it to connect,” Tim Philmon, an independent trucker from Middleburg, Fla., told Trucks.com. “I spent hours on the phone, but could never get someone to speak to, so I ended up going with another provider, which wasn’t cheap.”

A spokesperson from Rand McNally said the company has increased its number of customer service representatives to assist truckers with ELD issues they are experiencing.

“We are constantly getting feedback from truckers and want to get their issues sorted out,” Alexis Sadoti, a spokesperson for Rand McNally, told Trucks.com.

Another trucker, Paul Bazydlo, an independent trucker from Manchester, Mich., has been using the Rand McNally 50 ELD device since November. Bazydlo said he’s spent 10 to 15 hours on the phone or on hold with customer service representatives trying to figure out why the GPS system on his ELD device doesn’t work.

The FMSCA has granted Bazydlo five waivers since November because he doesn’t have a working device. The last one runs out Sunday.

In a recent email, the federal agency told Bazydlo, “to press the manufacturer for a fix or look at getting a new company to work with.”

Bazydlo said he is frustrated that the agency has failed to remove his model device from its approved ELD registry.

“I didn’t wait until the last minute to find an ELD solution, but it appears my ELD provider did,” Bazydlo told Trucks.com. “It irks me that I will be penalized for not having a working ELD, but the providers don’t have a penalty for not having their issues fixed.”

The types of data transfer and other issues should have been resolved before the devices were sold to truckers, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the organization in charge of enforcing the ELD mandate, told Trucks.com

“We should have had a process where you had to submit your device and then you have to go through it, review your code and demonstrate an effective data transfer on the front-end,” Collin Mooney, executive director of CVSA, told Trucks.com.

But FMCSA allowed ELD manufacturers to self-certify on a federal registry that their devices worked.

The self-certification registry is consistent with the agency’s practices, DeLorenzo said.

“For us to get involved, testing and analyzing every device was not a solution that was chosen through the notice and comment process of the rule-making,” DeLorenzo said.

Greg Anderson of Bardstown, Ken., a small motor carrier with just 11 trucks, said he spoke with federal officials at the Mid-America Trucking Show earlier this month about problems his fleet was experiencing with ELDs but received no answers.

Anderson said he installed ELDs from Omnitracs a month ago but has experienced problems ever since.

On Thursday, he said one of his driver’s ELD showed the trucker was in Oklahoma City when he was actually in Louisville, Ken. Another driver was delivering in Maine but his ELD showed that he was in Pennsylvania.

“They tell me to refresh, to reboot, and we do, but it isn’t solving our issues,” Anderson told Trucks.com.

If all 11 trucks are pulled over for roadside inspection before his challenges are addressed, Anderson said it could prove catastrophic to his flatbed and refrigerated freight business.

“It could potentially cost me $15,000 per week if these devices on all of my trucks aren’t working properly and I can’t stay in business for long if that happens,” he said.

Omnitracs did not return Trucks.com phone call for comment.

Read Next: Five Ways the Electronic Logging Device Is Changing Trucking

17 Responses

  1. Michael Rodgers

    Tired of stories like this. All words but nothing to the point. ….so what is the name of this conpanies name

    Reply
  2. Jaxx

    Ours has shown violations when the clock messed itself up in the beginning. That has been fixed. Showed driving for 4 days straight when off duty and parked at home. Newest issue is the 3g hasnt worked for a week so it isnt showing anything in the office and i doubt it will transfer data if necessary. They are trying to get issue resolved, but this is frustrating. Drivers dont have time to waste as it is with the HOS, yet it takes forever to resolve these electronic issues.

    Reply
  3. Alan P. Adams

    My name is Alan P. Adams I do own ALA TRUCKING INC in Anderson Indiana we are a small company of 33 trucks we to have had a lot of trouble with the ELD”S We to have changed providers at our own expense we to have asked Rand Mcnally for help in solving issues with no help. This system that the FMCSA want’s us to use is not working and there is so much wrong with the hole thing it is a mess. The first time this company gets a fine over this we will close the doors and the government can figure out how to move the freight on it’s own. I will put 33 family’s out of a job instead of keeping them working.

    Reply
    • Leighann

      We also have Rand McNally and have had some major issues like for instance when they change trucks or when a truck goes to the mechanic shop and it just puts the previous driver on duty. I have had to make several edits and every time I make one it scares me to death. I sound like a broken record telling my driver turn it off, turn it on, unplug from the back and wait five minutes before you re connect everything. It is definitely not as easy as it was made out to be. All of us Rand McNally users should get together a class action law suit. I had a driver even get written up the other day for not being able to transfer his logs to law enforcement. I am just thankful it was before April 1st. We also are about a 33 truck flatbed company in Alabama

      Reply
  4. Miie

    I m on my third. Unit from Omnitrack. Have filed several complaints but they never responded. Last week I drove over 200 Mike’s where the ELD did not record anything at all. Another unit will be installed this weekend. All a bunch a garbage.
    If a licensed mechanic screws up some how it’s the truckers fault. Now when EKD providers can supply or program their units properly it’s the truckers fault.

    Reply
  5. Fred McGowan

    We have the Transflo system and it is GARBAGE!! My office can monitor the truck; they know where i am ,how fast i’m going, and even if the truck has codes showing but i as a driver cannot log into the system and enter data. All of our drivers have this problem and we have been back and forth with Transflo for months and it’s still not fixed! I am still using paper logs and after turning them in to the office each week they enter them into the ELD system on the office computer. ELD’s are nothing but politics in action!!

    Reply
  6. David L Miller

    “Regulators say ELDs will ensure that truckers comply with a federal hours-of-service rule. The rule limits driving to no more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour workday. Drivers must then be off duty for 10 consecutive hours.” – At the same time enforcement of Hours of Service regulations has and will continue to increase, Rest Stops are being closed……Talk about a journey of the insane —

    Reply
  7. Fred_PA_2000

    I’m a retired college teacher, so I’m not in the trucking industry.
    But this certainly sounds like a class-action lawsuit in the making.
    Surely there’s a law firm out there somewhere who’d be interested in pursuing this on a contingency basis.
    (One ad on our local radio is saying “Why pay the usual 40% contingency fee, when we’re willing to do it for 25%?”)

    Reply
  8. Ernest A Jones Jr

    I using big road ELD
    The problem I’m having and Big Road says it fine is my miles for the day sre not accurate. Big Road say my odometer is off that there system pulls from the ECM. Then i ask them why is my GPS and odometer match in miles. I can be off as much as 20 miles a day difference. The Big Road show less miles then driven. So every morning i correct the mileage reading. So i guess if ask by DOT about mileage ending and starting not the same. Show them the email i got from big road say there nothing wrong with there system it’s the truck. Oh the truck a 2018 yr. So it must be the truck…lol

    Reply
    • laurie

      Mr. Jones,
      We are having the same problem with only 3 of the 40 trucks in our fleet/These three are Paccars; and we cannot get answers with either Kenworth nor Big Road

      Reply
  9. Edward

    I have a Prepass Eld and it works when it wants to. I can have it on and working just fine,the next thing I know I’m logged out of the system automatically while driving down the interstate.I have to stop,unplug the device for minute and reinstall it all over again.Fmcsa should have done a better job making sure the devices would perform right before they hit the market for profit. We all need to get a class action lawsuit started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Vasily Kapanzhi

    Vasily Kapanzhi i have small comp off 8 trucks and use BigRoad i have 7 divices and only one driver know how to use they, miles not accurate log book screen showing all ways on duty it cost me $ 2500 and they don’t do nothing this stupid ELOG will put me OUT bussunes Politics never drive trucks but they like to control you and tell you how you to do your work have 10 drivers and i will loose them all they are good drivers with clean records small comp. i try to stay but don.t know for how long

    Reply
  11. John S

    Peoplenet that Ryder uses is a joke. Mine constantly displays errors or says it has lost communication or that it lost connection to ECM so I should use a paper log. What a joke, how many of these devices were certified when in fact they were not very reliable? Who pays the price when road side inspections turns up some violations because these devices didn’t work correctly. Many drivers and companies will suffer because they adopted a unreliable ELD device and will face the problems down the road. Personally I think it over complicated things and the technology isn’t really there in cheaper devices. Not to mention the service people seem clueless on how to deal with problems.

    Reply
  12. Michael Bradshaw

    We use Samsara where I work and they’re just as bad as the rest of them !

    Reply
  13. PAT GRIER

    We have Verizon Connect (formerly Telematics), the system has been an epic failure! Constant upgrades causing more issues requiring uninstalling and reinstalling the application. Has cost the company a tremendous amount of time for the drivers and administration on phone calls and supposed fixes. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS SYSTEM!

    Reply
  14. Bryan Carlile

    I am an independent out of Prineville OR. We bought a Rand McNally prodriver 50 ELD. The top of the line they had. We have had nothing but issues after issues. They will not return emails, and RARELY after literally hours on hold, get to talk with someone.
    Not only is the eld having issues, although the fixes are slowly getting it better, but now the blue tooth is causing issues.
    We have been fighting computer issues. Replaced computer and still more issues. Wire harnesses, sensors, and thousands of dollars, and still have acting issues.
    Truck would start shutting down, unplug eld, it would fire back up. Then It wouldn’t allow to accelerate, just idle. Throttle sensor tested out good. Replaced anyway, still an issue.
    Disconnected eld, disconnected battery for a while, everything started working fine. THEN after ELD was put back in, after about 20 miles was good. turned off, now won’t fire back up. something keeps shutting it down… About the only thing left is a new ELD…

    Reply
  15. leona notarpippo

    rand mcnally has made major changes in the past 3 months i used to spend 2 hours on hold to get help now i am getting threw to someone within 30 min. my problems recently with rand mcnally is it has changed me to central time zone instead of eastern all by itself. and when i try to put myself on pc it tells me i am over the company limit even after i sat all week and only used 2 min to go less than 1/2 mile.

    Reply

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