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Deadline Announced for Electronic Logging Device Adoption for Drivers

December 10, 2015
 / transportation / 


Truck drivers and owner-operators preparing to go digital finally have a solid date to pencil onto their calendars.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that its Final Rule that will require truck operators to use electronic logging devices, also known as e-logs, will officially go into effect on Dec. 10, 2017. Devices must be installed and in use by Dec. 11, 2017.

The rule to keep electronic records of duty status will be published in the Federal Register on Dec. 11, 2015.

See the ELD Final Rule in its entirety here.

The FMCSA states that this rule will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.

“Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for trucks and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age; it also allows roadside safetyinspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”

Read tips for safe driving in winter here.

Electronic logging devices automatically record driving time by plugging into the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) system. It monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information.

Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, as well as the hours spent driving, in order to prevent drivers from becoming fatigued. Drivers are required to take breaks and have sufficient off-duty rest periods before returning behind the wheel.

However, drivers have previously been allowed to track these on-duty/off-duty hours, as well as mileage, on paper, without any sort of verification ability for regulation enforcement.

This is a win for all motorists on our nation’s roadways,” FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling said. “Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives.”

The FMCSA estimates that the ELD Final Rule will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries annually from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles. It will also reduce the amount of required industry paperwork and increase roadside law enforcement efficiency in reviewing driver records, resulting in an estimate net benefit of more than $1 billion.

The Final Rule includes strict protections against harassment of commercial drivers, and trucks and buses manufactured before the year 2000 are exempt from ELD regulations. Those who record duty status in eight or fewer days out of every 30 working days, and those in drive-away and tow-away operations are also exempt from the mandate.

All other commercial drivers will have two years to comply with the rule’s requirements and transfer all of their paper logging to ELDs. Upon installation and deployment of an ELD, drivers will no longer be required to maintain paper logs, but they will need to maintain supporting documentation that will be submitted to their carrier or kept on file for owner-operators.

Devices will not be required to track a driver or vehicle in real-time or to include driver-carrier communication capabilities, but they must be able to record date, time, and location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and identification information of the driver using the device. They must also sync with the corresponding vehicle’s engine to record on/off time.

Compliant devices must be able to transfer data during roadside inspections “on-demand,” via a wireless Web-based service, email, USB 2.0, or Bluetooth. ELDs must “present a graph grid of a driver’s daily duty status changes” either on the units themselves or in a printout.

Drivers will still be required to keep a maximum of eight supporting documents (either on paper or electronically) for every 24-hour period that includes on-duty time, and submit them to their carriers to retain for six months.

These documents include: bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, etc.; dispatch records or trip records; expense receipts; electronic mobile communications records through fleet management systems; or payroll records, settlement sheets, etc.

Approximately 3 million drivers will be impacted by the Final Rule, according to the FMCSA, and smartphones and other wireless devices are permitted as ELDs, as long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on the FMCSA website.

Motor carriers who have previously installed compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Devices may continue to use these for an additional two years beyond the December 2017 compliance date.

Read further information on the FMCSA website

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