Like every piece of technology available there will be times when an ELD starts to malfunction. The FMCSA has set specific rules in the ELD requirements for what carriers and drivers should do to remain compliant in the event of an ELD malfunction. In the ELD mandate the FMCSA provides specific steps for carriers and drivers to follow in order to protect themselves in the event of an ELD malfunction.
(a) Record keeping during ELD malfunctions. In case of an ELD malfunction, a driver must do the following:
(1) Note the malfunction of the ELD and provide written notice of the malfunction to the motor carrier within 24 hours.
You will want to email or text your carrier that a malfunction has happened and that they should begin to look into the situation. You need to have something in writing to show you did your part to bring awareness to the situation. You will not have the documentation that you need if you tell them in a phone call unless it is recorded.
(2) Reconstruct the record of duty status for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days, and record the records of duty status on graph-grid paper logs that comply with § 395.8, unless the driver already possesses the records or the records are retrievable from the ELD; and
(3) Continue to manually prepare a record of duty status in accordance with § 395.8 until the ELD is serviced and brought back into compliance with this subpart.
All drivers should keep a couple sets of paper logbooks in their trucks to fall back on in the case of an ELD malfunction. If your ELD allows you to continue to keep HOS logs manually this will work as well. You need to ALWAYS have 7 consecutive days of logs available.
(b) Inspections during malfunctions. When a driver is inspected for hours of service compliance during an ELD malfunction, the driver must provide the authorized safety official the driver’s records of duty status manually kept as specified under paragraphs (a)(2) and (3) of this section.
(c) Driver requirements during ELD data diagnostic events. If an ELD indicates that there is a data inconsistency that generates a data diagnostic event, the driver must follow the motor carrier’s and ELD provider’s recommendations in resolving the data inconsistency.
Make sure that you know where your ELD provider keeps documentation on how to handle ELD malfunctions and data diagnostic events. Not being able to do this will fall on the driver and not the ELD provider. It is important to know your ELD provider well before using their solution.
(d) Motor carrier requirements for repair, replacement, or service. (1) If a motor carrier receives or discovers information concerning the malfunction of an ELD, the motor carrier must take actions to correct the malfunction of the ELD within 8 days of discovery of the condition or a driver’s notification to the motor carrier, whichever occurs first.
Carriers have 8 days from the time the ELD malfunction event happens to correct the issue. That means getting the device repaired or replaced with a new one.
(2) A motor carrier seeking to extend the period of time permitted for repair, replacement, or service of one or more ELDs shall notify the FMCSA Division Administrator for the State of the motor carrier’s principal place of business within 5 days after a driver notifies the motor carrier under paragraph (a)(1) of this section. Each request for an extension under this section must be signed by the motor carrier and must contain:
(i) The name, address, and telephone number of the motor carrier representative who files the request;
(ii) The make, model, and serial number of each ELD;
(iii) The date and location of each ELD malfunction as reported by the driver to the carrier; and
(iv) A concise statement describing actions taken by the motor carrier to make a good faith effort to repair, replace, or service the ELD units, including why the carrier needs additional time beyond the 8 days provided by this section.
Carriers can request an extension of their 8 day window to address ELD malfunctions if the situation is going to take longer than anticipated to correct. Carriers will have to provide information on the 4 points above to ELD-Extension@dot.gov within 5 days of being aware of the malfunction.
(3) If FMCSA determines that the motor carrier is continuing to make a good faith effort to ensure repair, replacement, or service to address the malfunction of each ELD, FMCSA may allow an additional period.
(4) FMCSA will provide written notice to the motor carrier of its determination. The determination may include any conditions that FMCSA considers necessary to ensure hours-of-service compliance. The determination shall constitute a final agency action.
Any response that a carrier gets from the FMCSA should be available to all drivers who will be driving a CMV with a malfunctioning ELD. This should be provided to DOT in case of a road side inspection to prove that the situation is being handled.
(5) A motor carrier providing a request for extension that meets the requirements of paragraph (d)(2) of this section is deemed in compliance with § 395.8(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2) until FMCSA makes an extension determination under this section, provided the motor carrier and driver continue to comply with the other requirements of this section.
If you are in a situation where your ELD is malfunctioning then understanding and following these steps exactly will ensure you avoid any hours of service violations. If you are given a violation in error then you can appeal these citations using the FMCSAs DataQ system.