Editor’s Note: Updates with Omnitracs statement, clarifies affected ELD models
U.S. truck drivers possibly numbering in the tens of thousands are staring at non-working electronic logging device (ELD) screens after their Omnitracs systems shut down on Nov. 2.
Omnitracs, a market leader in ELD systems, said it began experiencing connectivity issues with a subset of its “in-cab” telematics hardware about 7 p.m. CST on Saturday, Nov. 2.
“We understand the root cause and are now focused exclusively on returning impacted customers to full functionality,” Omnitracs said in a statement.
The company said the MCP 200, MCP 110 and MCP 50 devices were affected. Newer models, including the Omnitracs IVG, XRS and Roadnet products, are not impacted.
Large fleets, including industry leaders Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KNX), which has 23,000 tractors and 77,000 trailers, and Schneider National Inc. (NYSE: SNDR), which has 14,000 trucks and 48,000 trailers, reportedly told their drivers to use paper logs to record their miles driven and time driving, according to freightbrokerlive.com.
Schneider was aware of the issue and expected to have more information later, a spokeswoman said.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees ELD compliance as a way of measuring drivers’ attention to hours-of-service regulations, was aware of the Omnitracs’ outage. The agency requires drivers to keep paper logs on board in case of a malfunction. The agency lists 51 pages of manufacturer self-certified ELDs on its website.
The FMCSA issues few exceptions to the ELD mandate, the final stage of which takes effect Dec. 16. That is when trucks with less sophisticated automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) must switch to ELDs. Drivers and companies with AOBRDs got a two-year waiver from the Dec. 18, 2017, mandate that all but ended the use of paper logs.
According to freightbrokerlive.com, emails sent from Omnitracs to its ELD service users required an emergency firmware update to IVG units before Nov. 2. The phaseout of the U.S. government’s use of the 3G/Global Positioning Satellites system required the update.
A screenshot sent to freightbrokerlive.com showed a message that read: “Drivers Omnitracs has gone down. From this point on until the system comes back please start logging on paper. At this time we have no fix for this issue as the issue is on the Omnitracs side.”
Several drivers posted on Facebook about the issue. A private site managed by third-party logistics (3PL) broker CDL4Life had 160 posts as of Sunday afternoon, Nov. 3.
“We have had a complete Qualcomm/Omnitracs failure. It is nationwide,” driver Deanna Mase-Parks posted on her Facebook page. “It is a Y2K GPS bug believe it (or) not. Our logs do not show any driving history and the computer has reverted back to the date 03/18/2000.”
Contract driver Stephen Halsted told FreightWaves he logged into his Omnitracs MCP200 ELD and it accurately showed his truck in sleep mode.
Omnitracs is wary of computer hacks and works to prevent corruption of its systems, according to Sharon Reynolds, the company’s chief information security officer.
Cyber threats against transportation companies have increased 100-fold since 2015, she said during an Oct. 6 panel discussion at American Truck Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.