Incorporating unidentified trips is one of the consequences of the ELD mandate. According to the ELD mandate, ELDs must record all drive time, which means an ELD records all events even if the driver is not linked to it. Searching through all unassigned driving time, assigning and annotating it adds to fleet managers’ workload. This may appear to be a simple workflow, but going through each event and deciding the correct driver can quickly become time-consuming.
In this blog, we wanted to highlight all critical information so that fleet owners can spend more time handling their fleet and less time managing unidentified trips.
It is critical for businesses to record all movement of their trucks, as well as the driver(s) who is driving the vehicle. Unassigned Driving Time occurs when a truck is driven without a driver who has successfully logged in. It is the driver’s and the motor carrier’s responsibility to reconfigure the unassigned driving time. With an explanation, the motor carrier can assign the unassigned driving. The justification must include the reason for the reassignment of unidentified driving.
What does an Unassigned Driving Event Mean for your Business?
It’s easy to see how some Unassigned Driving Time errors could occur during a hectic workday. While you may dismiss some of the above actions as insignificant, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) would disagree.
Unassigned drive time is one of the reasons an inspector may levy a fine and deduct points from a fleet’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score. Enough CSA tax breaks will eventually result in a grounded fleet, which any fleet manager should strive to avoid.
When a driver is subjected to a roadside audit, the inspector examines driver logs as well as unassigned drive time. The DOT inspector or highway cop is looking for large chunks of unassigned drive time during this review. Long periods of unassigned driving are usually an indication that a company or driver is attempting to circumvent HOS limits.
During roadside checks, your driver may be required to produce up to six months of logs to demonstrate that your ELDs are properly maintained. If there are several unassigned periods, this can result in hefty fines and a significant drop in your fleet’s CSA score.
How is an Unidentified Driving Time Recorded?
Unidentified Driving Time is recorded using an ELD. According to the ELD mandate, ELDs must record all drive time, which means an ELD records all events even if the driver is not linked to it. When a vehicle is driven without the assigned driver logging in, it is characterized as an Unidentified Driving Time.
The following instances are when an identified driving instance may occur:
- When a driver fails to log in to the system with his or her creds before beginning to drive
- When the device was not present in the truck or vehicle, whether it was left in the office, a driver’s personal vehicle, or somewhere else
- When the device’s battery is about to die
- When the mechanics, maintenance personnel, technicians, and other non-drivers who use the vehicle without logging in are included.
What Effects can Management of Unassigned HOS have on Revenue?
Unassigned logs cause a variety of troublesome situations:
- Unassigned driving events do not count toward the driver’s total hours. This can put drivers at risk of breaking the law, which can result in hefty fines.
- Unassigned logs are interpreted as indicating a lack of effort or care by DOT officers, who are more likely to investigate. As a result, they may levy fines as they see fit. It is critical to assign and explain your logs, especially during an audit.
- If logs are modified to be unassigned since the driver was incorrectly classified (they were in Yard Move, but it was documented as Drive Time), leaving the logs unexplained may result in a DOT officer issuing a violation.
What Strategies can a Fleet Manager Implement to Prevent Unassigned Events?
- Training is the most effective tool for avoiding unassigned drive time. Unassigned driving time is an essential component of any driver safety training program. Make sure you’ve developed a solid and comprehensive program that reinforces HOS logging for every employee who has access to your fleet vehicles. Then, on an ongoing, periodic basis, provide mandatory training sessions to all of your drivers and support staff.
- It is sometimes as easy as asking the driver(s) who was designated to the vehicle before and after the unassigned event to determine who is responsible for unassigned driving time. If drivers deny having the time, go over maintenance, fueling, and repair documents to see if staff members may have moved a vehicle. If that’s not the case, see if the vehicle was in the facility where it could have been moved by someone else.
- Following that, you should reassess your ELD records on a daily basis to catch any problems early. This way, you can rectify the logs while everyone’s memories of the day are still fresh. Implementing an ELD with a robust telematics reporting system is the simplest way to check for unassigned drive time.
- You should ideally set reminders for any unassigned driving time or end up receiving a daily report that allows you to confirm that all drivers are properly logging their HOS details.
Who uses unassigned driving events?
Unassigned driving events are used by ELD officers and fleet managers to keep track of unassigned driving time.
What should be done with unassigned driving time?
When the driver first logs into the ELD, the FMCSA requires them to evaluate unassigned driving time. They must then allege any unassigned logs that are theirs. If the unassigned records do not relate to the driver, the record must reflect this. When claiming the log, it is suggested that all drivers explain their actions. As it will be for the DOT officer, this can be a brief explanation.