When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) started to impose the use of the electronic logging device (ELD) last December 2017, it considered the possibility that it could malfunction occasionally. The FMCSA set some guidelines on what to do in case your device fails to work. If you do not adhere to these guidelines, you are at risk of fines and other sanctions. 

Visual Indicators for Malfunctioning ELD

A malfunction happens when an ELD stops working as it should. It can affect the integrity of the device and ultimately your compliance.

How would you know that your ELD is malfunctioning?

The answer lies on some visual indicators. Yes, once an ELD stops working, it will give you these signals so you’ll be able to take the necessary steps.

  • An ELD should show a single visual malfunction indicator. An indicator may include a text, light or symbol on the ELD, or on a stand-alone display. The visual signal should be clearly visible to the driver and be continuously communicated every time the ELD is powered on. The display should clearly illuminate an active malfunction.  
  • An ELD must also display a single visual data diagnostics indicator to show active diagnostics events. These events take note of inconsistencies that a driver can resolve by following the ELD provider or motor carrier’s recommendations. This data diagnostics indicator may come with an audible signal.

What a Driver Must Do in case of ELD malfunctions

If you are the driver or owner-operator, as per FMCSA,  these are the things you must do in case you notice a malfunction indicator.

  • Note the malfunction of the ELD and provide written notice of the malfunction to the motor carrier within 24 hours.
  • Reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days, and record the records of duty status on graph-grid paper logs, or electronic logging software, that comply with 49 CFR 395.8, unless the driver already has the records or retrieves them from the ELD; and
  • Continue to manually prepare RODS in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8 until the ELD is serviced and back in compliance. The recording of the driver’s hours of service on a paper log, or electronic logging software, cannot continue for more than 8 days after the malfunction. A driver that continues to record his or her hours of service on a paper log, or electronic logging software, beyond 8 days risk being placed out of service.”

What a Motor Carrier Must Do in case of ELD malfunctions

If you are an owner-operator or motor carrier, the FMCSA also sets some guidelines on what you must do in case your ELD fails to work.

You need to correct or repair the malfunctioning ELD. The correction or repair should be within eight days of discovering the malfunction or a driver’s notification, whichever happens first. You should also require the driver to prepare paper record of duty status (RODS) until such time that the ELD is fixed.

Different Types of Malfunction and Diagnostic Events 

Power Data Diagnostic 

The ELD records a power data diagnostic event when the ELD is not powered on and fully functional within one minute of turning on the engine and it remains in this condition for as long as the engine is powered on.

Power Data Malfunction

This event occurs when the ELD is not powered and functional for a cumulative in-motion driving time of at least 30 minutes in the last 24 hours.

Engine Synchronization Data Diagnostic

The ELD records this even when the ELD loses connectivity with the engine and is not able to gather required data such as engine power status, engine hours and miles driven. 

Engine Synchronization Compliance Malfunction

This malfunction is an accumulation of engine synchronization data diagnostic events. It occurs when the ELD does not receive data from the engine for more than 30 cumulative minutes for the last 24 hours.

Positioning Compliance Malfunction

It refers to an event wherein the ELD is not receiving GPS location for over 60 minutes in a 24-hour period. An ELD also records this malfunction when it fails to get a valid position measurement within 5 miles of driving ad after 60 minutes elapsed.

Timing Compliance Malfunction

This malfunction occurs when the ELD time is off for more than 10 minutes. This usually happens when the internal clock failed to initialize when the vehicle is powered on. 

Missing Required Data Elements Data Diagnostic 

This happens when there is a missing data required for preparing ELD records. The best way to resolve this issue is by checking the engine synchronization and positioning compliance.

Data Recording Compliance Malfunction

The ELD records this malfunction when there is not enough storage capacity on your ELD. You can either reduce the date stored or replace the ELD to resolve this issue.

Unidentified Driving Records Data Diagnostic

When the ELD records over 30 minutes of unidentified driving records within the 24-hour period, this error appears. 

Data Transfer Data Diagnostic

This happens when the ELD data to the FMCSA website fails.

Data Transfer Compliance Malfunction

The Data Transfer Compliance Malfunction occurs when the data transfer to the FMCSA website fails for three consecutive times or more.