The Software Electronic log is covered under section 395.8 and has the identical requirements of your paper logs. That means if you are stopped by an officer, you better be able to show them paper logs with the graph and other data, for that day and the previous 7 days. It will NOT matter if you can show them the logs on your laptop (or other device), nor will it matter if your company can send them your logs via email or fax. You must be able to print the logs out and show the officer paper logs, or you will be issued a violation for no logs. The weakness here, is, that if either your display device, or your printer go on the fritz, you are at risk for a citation.
The 2nd type EOBR, referred to as an AOBRD (Automatic On-board Recording Device) is a horse of a different color. When stopped, the officer will first verify that your AOBRD qualifies under sections 395.2 and 395.15. If they determine that is does, they will only ask you to show them the display. The display meets the requirements, whether it is wired to the AOBRD or is connected wirelessly. They will NOT ask you for a printed copy of your logs.
So what exactly will the officer verify?
To qualify as an AOBRD, the system must meet the AOBRD requirements of section §395.2 and §395.15. Section 395.2 defines the AOBRD as follows:
Automatic on-board recording device means an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver's duty status information accurately and automatically as required by §395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.
The short of it, is that the AOBRD must be able to obtain, whether your engine is running, mileage, speed, date & time directly from your ECM (Electronic Control Module) of your Truck, in order to determine when you are driving, so that your hours of service requirements can be met. But that is not all. There are also requirements for the back office, the driver and the AOBRD itself.
The back office must have the software necessary to receive and store the electronic logs. It would also be prudent to have the functionality to send the stored logs back to the driver, if needed.
The driver must carry an instruction sheet stepping a layperson through the process of retrieving the driver’s hours-of-service records from the on-board system. The driver is also responsible for showing the officer the display and explaining how to access the electronic logs. The driver is also required to carry enough blank paper logs to cover the entire trip, just in case the AOBRD has a problem. Should the AOBRD have a problem, the driver must fill out paper logs until the AOBRD is functional again.
The AOBRD, itself, must be able to warn the driver visually and/or audibly that the device has stopped functioning. And last, but not necessarily least, the AOBRD and it's support system must be tamperproof to the maximum extent practicable and not allow the altering of any information collected on the driver's hours of service.
Author: Frank J. Oddo
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