In June, FMCSA published the Hours-of-Service Final Rule, making four key rule changes. With input from drivers, enforcement, and the industry, the regulatory changes aimed to increase flexibility for fleets while maintaining highway safety. The Final Rule went into effect starting September 29, 2020 and we prepared to make the transition seamless for our customers.
At EROAD, we’ve been focused on the coming changes to the HOS rules from the time the FMCSA first published its ANPRM back in September 2018. We have been approaching this in three stages:
- Researching attitudes and impacts of the changes with customers and the market
- Designing and implementing changes
- Communicating the changes and enabling customers to make an easy switch
We conducted rigorous testing of our ELD on behalf of our customers so that on Sept 29th, drivers didn't face bugs and issues, and compliance managers weren't looking at data they don’t understand. We tested complex scenarios in a driver’s day to trigger violations, checked HOS counters and made sure that driver log data before the switchover was correct as much as it will be after that date.
The three stages of preparation for HOS changes:
1. Research Stage
In fall 2018 when the ANPRM was announced, EROAD conducted surveys of our customer base to understand the operational challenges in the key HOS areas being considered and shared those findings as part of EROAD’s formal comment to the FMCSA. In August of 2019, when the FMCSA announced the changes being considered as part of the NPRM announced, EROAD surveyed customers and the broader industry on the likely impact of those specific changes, publishing the results and submitting as formal comment to the FMCSA.
2. Implementation Stage
When the changes were outlined in the NPRM in August 2019, EROAD began technical assessment of reprogramming the ELD and our data structure to ensure integrity for all data captured before the planned switchover date, as well as proper structuring after the date. User interface work and research began at this time to ensure ease of use for drivers. EROAD deployed rigorous testing scenarios to trigger violations in various ways to ensure our system is robust enough to handle the switchover. We are conducting several “mock switchovers” to mimic the driver’s day and ensure that the carriers can expect to see correct violations before and after the switchover date. Testing involved triggering violations, checking UX components such as driver’s HOS counters, and auditing driver log data to verify violations in the back-office side before and after the rule change. Finally, trained our customer service and technical support teams on the specific changes made to the system and how that impacts the experience for drivers using the ELD in the cab, as well as the reports and alerts being used by safety/compliance managers in the office.
3. Communication and Enablement Stage
Ensuring a smooth transition from the prior rules to the new rules was critical. With changes now designed and being finalized in our ELD and administrative portal, EROAD prepared assets and steps to communicate the changes and ensure proper use of our ELDs so everyone was ready on September 29th.
A few ways we prepared to help customers easily make the transition:
- Created a library of training videos for drivers and safety/compliance managers on the changes to the system that impact them.
- Built visual prompts when drivers log into their ELD for the first time after September 29th to advise them of the change in their counters.
- Enabled safety/compliance managers to message the drivers via the ELD unit to remind them of the changes.
- Built notices into our administrative portal advising users of specific changes in the interface as they encounter them.