Living With An EWD

living with an EWD

Since the long awaited certification of electronic work diaries, those involved in using them instead of the paper work diary have been on a steep learning curve in living with an EWD, entering the new electronic fatigue management world.

The fact of the matter is that keeping a work diary compliant has never been easy. In the past, simple mistakes have been punished by fines for things like spelling a location incorrectly. In this particular case, since the Electronic Work Diary knows its position, it should be possible to avoid getting into trouble on that count.

However, the EWD is a relatively complex piece of equipment and this initial period is one where both the drivers using them and the companies developing and supplying them to the industry are on a steep learning curve. 

StepGlobal whose Smart eDriver EWD was the first to be fully certified by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has set up an online discussion group on which drivers can iron out issues and provide feedback to the EWD’s designers on how to use the system correctly and avoid getting into trouble with the authorities.

Early on, simple issues were turning up like having the screen adjust between day and night. A night mode has now been added to the system to enable drivers to be able to work with the EWD in bright sunshine or in the darkness at night. Drivers can now choose whether they are seeing the screen in either mode, no matter what the time is. 

living with an EWD

One driver came close to dropping the EWD device and wanted to know what would happen if they dropped the device, cracked the screen and made the EWD unusable. The answer came back that it is the same solution as would happen if the driver accidentally dropped a paper work diary into some water, rendering it useless. Continue to record driving hours and rest periods, on a piece of paper until the diary is usable again. 

In the case of the EWD, the solution is actually more effective. The paper work diary would never be usable again, but the work recorded by the driver on paper can be entered into the EWD back at base by the record keeper. 

The driver can also go back and amend any records after the fact when they get access to a replacement device. The record can then be entered manually onto the device after the fact, but it will be entered as an edit, enforcement will be able to see it was entered at a later time.

One of the rules around EWD design is that the driver is able to amend any entry after the fact, but the device and the record will show all of the versions of the record keeping and when they were done.

living with an EWD

The fact that the EWD does record everything does mean that a driver can actually record what has happened to the device on the device, demonstrating a certain level of open honesty. All of this works out if the more inclusive and educational attitude, which the NHVR has been trying to introduce into work diary checks in recent years, is adhered to. However, edits on an EWD might get a gotcha result from officers living in the more confrontational past. A message as simple as device change due to device damage, should be enough to satisfy most enforcement. 

When an operator is asked to produce a particular driver’s records for a 28 day period the system will produce a record. The driver or operator can go to the compliance screen and access the relevant data. 

One operator using the EWD has had a driver pinged by the police for not having a particular document relating to the operator’s fatigue management scheme. These document are needed to be in place to support any variations on the standard fatigue rules by the driver.

The suggestion is that the EWD device should be able to include a way of being able to include items like this which relate to the fatigue management scheme, whether it be basic or advanced, on the device itself, so that all fatigue related information is available for the enforcement officers to see on the same device. 

There is also an argument to include other compliance documents in this area, those related to mass management and maintenance compliance. 

These developments will keep coming as the team at Smart eDriver continually liaise with drivers using these devices in the cab, to bring these technologies up to speed with the real world in which truck drivers have to live.

living with an EWD

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