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FMCSA Posts ELD File-Checker Tool Online

One of the bugaboos to the quick adoption by fleets of electronic logging devices compliant to the new rule that takes effect on December 18 has been the question of how—or when— users can be certain that the mandated devices will be able to electronically transfer data files of records of duty status for review by law enforcement officials who use portable computers.

The rule requires that ELDs must be able to transmit hours-of-service information to portable computers via several methods (wireless web/email, USB2.0, and/or Bluetooth). ELBs must also provide either an on-screen display of the driver’s sequence of duty status entries or a printout of the same.

John Seidl, Transportation Consultant with Integrated Risk Solutions and a former Wisconsin state trooper and FMCSA investigator, told HDT that FMSCA has “just come out with an ELD File Validator’” on its ELD-specific website

The agency states online that ELD suppliers can use the new tool to “ensure their ELD output file conforms to the technical specifications in the ELD rule.” However, FMCSA notes that using the File Validator is “not a mandatory step of the self-certification process [for suppliers]” but it will make the process “go as smoothly as possible.”

Seidl, though, sees another use for the tool: “When selecting a device, motor carriers should request a data file now from their ELD supplier and do their own test to ensure ELD compliance. It’s a great way to verify if a vendor that has already self-certified has a compliant data file to transfer, per the ELD rule. If the data file does not work, do you really have an ELD?”

He adds that those vendors that still have not self-certified may be able to provide the data file at this point— but “you, the customer, have to ask them.”

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