US to mandate e-logs

by James Menzies

A long-awaited final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will force truckers in the US – including the estimated 140,000 Canadian drivers who operate there – to modernize how they track and present their hours of work.

Released on Dec. 10, 2015, the hefty 516-page final rule outlines extensive technical requirements that must be met by ELD manufacturers before their systems are accepted by the FMCSA. Requiring drivers to transition from paper to electronic logs will improve compliance and simplify enforcement, according to US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. drapeau e-log

“Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify,” he said. “This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”

Drivers operating in the US will be required to use electronic logs by Dec. 18, 2017. Systems in use today do not yet qualify, as they have not been updated to reflect all the technical requirements laid out in the final rule. As such, today’s e-log systems, under the context of the law, are defined as automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs). Users of those systems will have until Dec. 16, 2019 before they must transition to ELDs that meet the new technical standard.

Elise Chianelli, senior product manager, safety and compliance with PeopleNet, said during a Webinar explaining the new mandate that most ELD suppliers estimate it will take between 12 and 24 months to update their currently available AOBRD platforms. 

“The FMCSA has introduced a grandfather clause that will allow two additional years for AOBRDs to come up to the ELD standard,” she said.

Kate Rahn, director of marketing with Shaw Tracking, pointed out that systems in use today won’t necessarily have to be replaced to comply with the new standard.

“For us, on newer versions of product, the requirements for ELD will be upgradable through software updates; both firmware and software applications,” she said.

This should minimize the cost of compliance for fleets that have already begun electronically logging hours-of-service through AOBRDs. For those that aren’t, there will likely be many options to choose from.

“This just opened up a billion dollar market and you know what that does – it attracts a lot of players,” said Jim Griffin, chief technical officer with Fleet Advantage. “You don’t have to get a big piece of the market if you’re a smaller player to make money, so there are a lot of smaller players coming into the market.”

The FMCSA will publish a list of accepted devices on its Web site as they are approved.

Griffin warns fleets may struggle with how to manage and coordinate the data generated by disparate ELD sources. Every ELD presents data differently, Griffin noted, and fleets could find themselves having to become familiar with many different platforms as they encounter systems from a wide range of suppliers through acquisitions, pre-equipped leased trucks, the purchase of pre-equipped used trucks or the signing-on of owner/operators.

“There will be a lot of mixed fleets running various on-board computers all within one fleet and that data all looks very different,” Griffin pointed out. “I think that’s something that is going to be overlooked.”

The new standard offers an exemption to operators of trucks of a model year 2000 or older, since those trucks lack the engine electronics necessary to communicate with an ELD.

The ELD mandate received mixed reaction in the US. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), long a proponent of mandating ELDs, welcomed the legislation, dubbing it a “historic day for trucking.”

President and CEO Bill Graves said “This regulation will change the trucking industry – for the better – forever. An already safe and efficient industry will get more so with the aid of this proven technology.”

Less enthusiastic was the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which vowed to fight the legislation.

“This rule has the potential to have the single largest, most negative impact on the industry than anything else done by FMCSA,” blasted Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and CEO. “This regulation is absolutely the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable and will do nothing at all to improve highway safety. In fact, we firmly believe it will do exactly the opposite by placing even more pressure and stress on drivers than they already deal with.”

OOIDA successfully thwarted a previous attempt by the FMCSA to mandate ELDs, arguing they could be used by shippers and carriers to harass drivers into using up all their legally available driving time, even when tired.

But in November 2015, just weeks before publishing its final rule on ELDs, the FMCSA passed a law that prohibits the coercion of drivers by motor carriers, shippers, receivers and other transportation intermediaries, effectively addressing concerns ELDs could be used to bully drivers. It also built into the final rule safeguards to prevent driver harassment, including the requirement for a mute button on the device that can help prevent a driver from being disturbed by dispatch while in the sleeper berth.

In Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) renewed calls for an ELD mandate to be implemented here.

Previous federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt voiced her desire to mandate ELDs even before the US law was passed, but no legislation requiring their use was forthcoming. Truck News contacted the office of current federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to see what the current government’s position is on the issue but as of press time, hadn’t received a response.

CTA chief David Bradley said the US law behooves the Canadian and provincial governments to follow suit.

“With the publication of the US rule the Canadian governments can no longer claim they need to see what the Americans do before getting down to business here,” said Bradley. “Now we are under the gun and in the situation where we have about 24 months to introduce our own mandate.”

The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) says that unlike OOIDA, it doesn’t oppose an ELD mandate outright.

However, Joanne Ritchie, executive director of OBAC, says she does question the need for such a rule. She says the operational and administrative benefits of using electronic logs are proven, though the safety benefits are not.

“There is no strong evidence that there are any direct safety benefits,” she told Truck News. “Which begs the question, if there’s no safety benefit, and ELDs are cost-effective for both industry and enforcement, why do we need a government mandate? It’s a question provincial and territorial governments (Ontario being the exception) are asking as well.”

Ritchie said OBAC is in favour of “voluntary adoption” of ELDs, particularly when accompanied by fair driver pay rates and operational practices that compensate for the shortcoming of current hours-of-service rules.

“Most small fleets, O/Os, and drivers we talk to support the use of ELDs,” Ritchie said. “Companies who are paying a decent dollar off the e-logs and managing their operations (legally) to compensate for the shortcomings of HoS that have earned their drivers’ acceptance of the technology. And even for the naysayers, it’s less about the technology, and more about driver pay and the unforgiving inflexibility
of HoS.”

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  • Shippers and recivers dont give a shit about our time, or whatever, they load and take thier sweet time.. couldnt careless. Maybe if the FMCSA focused on madating something for the shipper and recivers… not always us.

    Note FMCSA: Better train the car drivers so they cause accidents.

  • These people have never been in a truck,sitting in their office making rules about a profession they don’t know about.maybe if they came out and got in a truck for 6 months or more they could see what we really go through out here on the road.No were to park,not enough parking,we drive until we find somewhere too park safely,sometimes illegally,because we are tired and out of hours.we can not park at shippers or receivers.By putting those ELD’s in the trucks that don’t want them,will not make it safer out on the roads,it will only get worse.

  • who ever made this rule ask him how many hours he or she sleep at home and they want driver too sleep 10 hours they idiots . And for GOD sake tell them stop lieing about safety . cuz ELOGS have nothing too do with safety . tell the people that we are getting commissions from software companies soo we have too make this rule . lier’s

  • As a trucker sometimes I drive just to park at a decent place, so when I sleep , I know I’m safe. This new mandate is really scary. I hope they don’t pass this. Please.

    • Funny how they keep saying that most drivers want this…. complete B.S. It’s more about squeezing the little guy out than it is about safety.

  • This law has already been passed. This is going into effect and mandated by Dec. 18 2017. If you have an elog system you have till Dec 2019 to update it to fit the new law. I am currently, as I type, at a shopper that I drove 3 hours to get to in Columbus. I have to be in Lancaster pa by morning. This will not happen do to the fact that the shipper has already taken over 2 hours and hasn’t even touched my trailer yet. I do NOT get detention pay. So I’m losing money and sleep and now stressed to make my delivery on time. I have to drive through a major city just to find a place to park. Then worry about making a delivery that will not make it on time. This elog mandate is not in any way better. It will push senior truckers to retire bring in many more stupid drivers and have to increase the amount of trucks on the road because of lack of loads being covered. Im not happy with this and will do the very little that I am alowed to fight this.

  • Europe has had tachygraphs (paper) and now electronic. Each driver has a device similar to a credit card that he inserts in the truck. This monitors hours driven , time resting, vehicle speed and distance travelled. Seems to work in Europe.

  • This is happening because we the truckers let the government tell us what to do not the opposite! We are almost 40000000 truckers and I have never seen any real strike just passive unapproval but that’s it ! So the thing is more rules less pay more hard time for us and our family and also the people in the trucking will suffer we don’t need more technology or more rules we need some freedom and respect like the other bussnessess people have but we are already heavily taxed and robed by these institutions

    • First logic comments !!! Let the 4000000 Stop for week the FMCSA and the rest will have nothing to eat, drink, no fuel nothing everything will stop … guys have more power as a army just you never use it ..
      like sheep’s bbbeeeeeeeeeeee..

  • In Europe this works but they get paid more money and work less than us please do some research before post some nonsense here !!

    • No they dont, in europe they can hardly make 2000 euros am month which is a lot less than you can make in usa ( i drove a truck in the usa and i know how much money you can make ).

      • Let us know please , how much money did you make driving in the USA? You seem to know more then the old timers

  • One way around this eld garbage,is to buy a new long nose pete with no motor,and get a pre 2000yr 600hp CAT, have the thing professionally rebuilt,and put the motor in the new truck. These pinheads that passed this shit can rub salt in there ass. Another way around this ,is to have a real tek- savvy person rig this god damn eld device,so you look legal all the time,and drive as many hours as you want. Theres always a way to out smart these braindead regets. I’m from Canada, yeah I’m not some safety first anti- gun liberal. I’d be the first one to vote in TRUMP!!

  • This elog is a bunch of s**t ! The people that made these rules have no idea what we go through so they can sit on their ass in those fancy office chairs & have their smart phone & be able to wipe their ass with Angel soft! How many of them have to stop on the side of the road & take a dump b/c they can’t make it to stop b/c of the greasy crap they had to eat at the last dump they stopped at , or if they had to brush there teeth while 5 stinkin ass men are taking a shit behind them! It’s time we all stand up & shut this country down for a couple weeks, if we went on strike for 2 weeks & they run out of toilet paper & the gas stations didn’t have any gas & no one could make it to work then they would change their attitude! We hold the power to bring this place to stand still & they couldn’t do shit about it! The art of the deal says negotiate from a position of power, well we hold the power of we would all join together! God bless all the drivers out their & God bless this country!
    Vote TRUMP or give lose more of your rights!

  • I say to strike till we get the respect we work hard to provide for our family this eld will make me have to spend more time away from my family that sacrifice for us to deliver goods to everyone I am just basically a rookie 6 years in your for family small 5 trucks we run hard when I get tired I pull over take a nap and keep that door shut till I get the produce up by the next morning

  • Trucking is a race like every bussness so when this rules slow you down only the big companies will profit and the small business will vanish and how do I tell my kids we can’t afford this and that ??? We are so many but spread out and nobody is doing anything except on the forums or talks but I see many times people are on strike in a factory’s or some institution and it works their demands are granted, can’t we be that way ? Freeedom is the best thing in this life and for you e logs lovers the consequences are the same if you are involved in an accident so I have the impression the e logs will safe me haha I neeed the e logs to control me well I don’t think so!

    • WE NEED TO SHUT THESE TRUCKS DOWN!!! I was in both of the shut downs in the 70’s and the early 80’s, WORKED DAMNED GOD!!! They NEED us (truckers), we DON’T need THEM!!!

  • if you don’t like the rules then don’t play the game, there are many other jobs out there so why are you sitting here and complaining.

  • This mandate is only about big companies trying to push out and take over it will drive up the cost of goods and create total Kaos we should be calling our congress and really bring it to there at tn it is not about safety only intrusion on basic freedom really bs

  • This is utter stupidity. People with absolutely no concept of certain industries where you can not throw a blanket over. Example hauling livestock. Cattle pigs horses etc.
    This world does not operate this way. This will literally destroy an entire industry and no cares. Until you go to purchase such food items at the grocery stores. Hey guess what you can no longer afford meats of any sort. You’ve also destroyed the agriculture industry. Nice work you morons.

    • A totally stupid law… more tired drivers racing the timer on there elog to get there work done… more accidents because that 2 hour aft nap aint happening no more… this will just push drivers to drive sleepy.

  • Totally stupid so dang complicated to run!!!! Can’t run on time due to being vialatioin have to split your 10 hour sleeping birth to make things work!!! Theses things are a damn joke like truckings not complicated enough with out adding more stress for the drivers!!!!

  • The issue with the e-log is that there’s no infrastructure. No parking for truck, trailer or both and all the places either truck stop or Resting areas are full, lack of parking places. So all the driver will either have a parking ticket or a driving hours violation ticket.

  • It makes companies tracking easier ,less paperwork , it does have its advantages , my drivers like it in the North west.

  • I think drivers will look for different jobs local jobs or something different. Now education is on different level young people want to go to school not drive the trucks.
    Companies has to be very organised practykly pin to pin
    Seating in the coolers in CA or TX waiting on duty for the load will not work you can not do much paper will take it but not Elog. Drivers will loose lots of time monie on certain trips.
    For long trips may be good but on short ones if they waiting will be very difficult ok less miles.

  • This is a big scam to knock out the little man, but what are retails going to do when they run out of products, do those suits think about that, their big time stocks are going to crash, and the rates for loads are already s***, they don’t pay enough to go further and be out from our families, we still have overhead. Strike Please!!!

  • By the way, most Canadian trucks are blocked at 65 mph… how am I supposed to compete with unblocked Americans, not not remind the road aggressivity of some American drivers?

  • I understand trying to limit the hours of operation of a truck with no speed limiter. I understand less how I may be on time with all the hostile traffic, such as car abruptly hitting the breaks in front of me, and the border waiting times. I may think this is heavily discriminating against modest Canadian drivers but maybe they will erase this comment as well.

  • How about the guy trying to get into ports/piers to bring that load on time or the company trying to that load out without that costly demurrage price. And what about all those chemical companies like BASF, SABIC, VALSPAR, INFINIUM/EXXON how will they compete globally when their will a day later which means a late shipment due to a missed cargo ship at the piers. I am going to sit back and take note to just will happen comes this December 2017. I heard stories about people running teams just to run I-80 to cross PA. from Wayne NJ.

  • You can tell your grand children where you were when the American logic system stopped moving like a well oiled machine and inched along like a snail.

  • Just keep your eyes on the prices on regular items, with the upcoming supply change from the late deliveries caused by ELD’S.
    These are the last days in time for the America I grew up in and those guys never fired a shot, they did it from within just as they said they would many years ago.

  • I’d like to know who is making the money we are los My out on.
    I can only sleep 6 to 7 hours. And wake up more hen well rested. I have been like that my whole life.
    Now explain to me why a machine can tell me when I am able to work. No different then the bs HOS.
    This mechanism of control is bullshit.

  • I was a Canadian Longhaul driver for 18 years. When the hos regulations changed over to elogs, I noticed a great reduction in the amount of money I brought home because of extended wait times at shippers and receivers. If you wait 6 hours to get loaded, do your pre and post trip inspections, you have less miles to run in that day. Meaning less pay per day. Also, I used to regularly stop for a short nap in the afternoon or whenever I deemed it necessary. This takes time away from the countdown clock as to what you could accomplish in a day as well as if you were able to get to your unload and reload in time for the very much needed and important home time. McDonalds paid more some days.
    Not a fan of this system at all. If dispatch and planners don’t understand the system, how do they expect you to run the same amount of miles in a week??