U.S. Requiring Electronic Logging Devices in Two Years

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Thursday announced the adoption new regulations that will require the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) for truckers to keep track of their hours of service.

The rules, which are set to be published on Dec. 11, will take effect two years afterwards and require Canadian and Mexican domiciled drivers to use the devices when operating on U.S. roadways

An ELD automatically records driving time and also monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles drive and location information.

“Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”

According to FMCSA these regulations will result in an annual net benefit of more than US$1 billion, largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. 

It said the rules will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records while strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.

FMCSA estimates on an annual average basis, the ELD regulations will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from U.S. crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles.

The four main elements of the ELD Final Rule include:

* Requiring commercial truck and bus drivers who currently use paper log books to maintain hours-of-service records to adopt ELDs within two years. It is anticipated that approximately three million drivers will be affected.

* Strictly prohibiting commercial driver harassment. The regulations provide both procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs. A separate FMCSA rulemaking further safeguards commercial drivers from being coerced to violate federal safety regulations and provides the agency with the authority to take enforcement actions not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries, according to the agency.

* Setting technology specifications detailing performance and design requirements for ELDs so that manufacturers are able to produce compliant devices and systems and purchasers can make informed decisions.

* Establishing new hours-of-service supporting document (shipping documents, fuel purchase receipts, etc.) requirements that will result in additional paperwork reductions. In most cases, a motor carrier would not be required to retain supporting documents verifying on-duty driving time.

In developing the ELD regulations, FMCSA said relied on input from its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee feedback from two public listening sessions, comments filed during an extended comment period following the 2011 proposed rule, and comments to the 2014 supplementary proposed rule. 

The regulations also incorporate mandates included in legislation earlier passed by the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President Obama

The ELD regulations allow the use of smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications and are certified.

Motor carriers who have previously installed compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) may continue to use the devices for an additional two years beyond the compliance date.

The regulations have a few exemptions that were not in the proposed 2014 regulations, including excepting drivers who keep records of duty status in eight or fewer days out of every 30 working days; drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations and truckers operating vehicles older than model year 2000.

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