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FreightWaves

Omnitracs chasing solution to ELD connectivity issues

Industry telematics leader Omnitracs is still chasing a fix for a connectivity glitch that caused some models of its electronic logging devices (ELDs) to stop reporting accurate time and location data.

“Resolving this issue is our highest priority, and our team is working around the clock until all units are again fully operational,” Omnitracs CEO Ray Greer said in a company blog post.

Greer declined to say how many devices are affected or when they would be working again. But he said he shares the pain of those affected.

“As someone who has spent 30 years in the operational side of the transportation industry, I fully understand the impact this has on operations and the frustration this creates for drivers and their companies,” Greer said.

The so-called GPS rollover event began at 7 p.m. CDT on Saturday, Nov. 2, affecting older model MCP 200/110/50 telematics units. Intelligent Vehicle Gateway (IVG), Android XRS and Roadnet devices continue to operate normally, Greer’s blog said. 

The issue had nothing to do with the changeover from daylight savings to standard time early on Nov. 3, he told FreightWaves in an email.

Firmware and chipsets

Omnitracs said its backend systems are functioning and have bidirectional communications with affected devices. The company is working with the manufacturers of the GOBI 1000/3000 chipsets used by the impacted units to develop a firmware update to fix the issue. It is also exploring software alternatives if the firmware update takes longer than expected.

Firmware is software that is programmed into a hardware device. Chipsets manage data flow between central processing units and external devices.

Paper logs

Until the ELDs are fixed, drivers are using paper logs to track their compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations that restrict drivers to 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour period. Some drivers cheated on their logs to squeeze in more driving time, a practice that ended with digital monitoring.

The FMCSA and Omnitracs said paper logs are a workable backup to comply with ELD and Automatic On Board Recording Device (AOBRD) regulations.

Don Lefeve, president and CEO of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, told FreightWaves that driver candidates learn how to complete paper logs “for instances just like this. In the event of an outage, they know how to go back and use these.

“Paper logs actually help underscore the understanding of hours of service and how to do a log if required or if an ELD breaks,” said Lefeve, whose group supports more than 220 commercial vehicle driving schools in 42 states and Canada.

“Regardless of their tenure, these are trained professional drivers who understand the responsibilities of their job,” Greer told FreightWaves. “We are confident they are capable of completing a paper log.”