electronic-logging-devicesOn March 12th, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA announced a change to the 2010 mandate for Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs). The old rule required certain fleets to use EOBRs for hours-of-service compliance. The new rule requires more technologically advanced Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to be used in most trucks by as early as 2016. The latest mandate consists of four parts: Mandating who uses ELDs, protections against driver harassment, hardware specifications, and rules pertaining supporting documents.

Mandated ELD Use

This new mandate applies to all drivers who are currently required to keep paper records of duty status. Any driver who’s required to keep duty status records in 8 or more days out of every 30 days must also use an ELD.

The rule will be enforced two years after the effective date of the final rule that would require carriers to install ELD’s in their fleet. Those who used EOBR’s prior to the latest mandate will have an extra two years to comply.

Harassment

Driver harassment was a focal point for the FMCSA when they developed this new rule. The purpose of the ELD mandate is to make the roads safer for drivers and the public. The old mandate allowed room for drivers to be pressured into breaking the rules, which undermines the original purpose of the logging devices. Guidelines to stop harassment of drivers are included directly in the newest rule. (Our next post will take a deeper dive into the Driver Harassment Provisions).

The guidelines to prevent harassment include: a very direct statement on the legality of driver harassment, access to records for drivers, harsher penalties for driver harassment, implementation of complaint procedures, editing rights for drivers and carriers, a mute function for ELD’s, limitations on location tracking, and driver confidentiality in enforcement proceedings.

Hardware Specifications

The devices that are required by the latest mandate are much more technologically advanced than those required in the 2010 mandate. These devices will be able to gather and transfer much more data than before (which is another reason harassment rules are so important in this mandate).

There are several hardware specifications for the new devices. Check out the FMCSA website for a comprehensive list of all requirements. Here’s an overview of the important device stipulations:

  • Integrates with truck’s engine to provide information on power status, motion status, miles driven, and engine hours
  • Provide limited location tracking information
  • Must be tamper-resistant
  • Allows for annotations by driver and/or carrier to explain or correct driving records
  • Transmits data to road-side officers
  • Automatically enters changes in driver duty status
  • Presents a graph grid of daily driver duty status changes
  • Connectivity methods include Bluetooth 2.1, e-mail, USB 2.0, and more

Supporting Documents

Drivers and carriers will be required to keep supporting documentation that verifies HOS records. These documents can be paper or electronic. A driver’s on-duty not driving time will need to be verified, but documents verifying driving time are not necessary.

For every 24 hours a driver is on duty, carriers and drivers must have at least 10 supporting documents. There are 5 different types of documents which a carrier and driver can have any combination of for verification. The categories of supporting documents are:

  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or other documents that show trip start and finish points
  • Trip records or dispatch records
  • Expense receipts
  • Electronic mobile communication records
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or any document that shows what and how a driver was paid

Even though the FMCSA included provisions to please drivers in this rule, there is still widespread opposition to ELDs amongst truck drivers. Mainly, it is the way the ELD logs on-duty time that’s causing complaints. A driver could wait 8 hours for delivery, which is on-duty time, and then not be able to drive for 10 hours. This causes serious inefficiencies in a time when capacity is already pushed to the limit. This inefficiency will also drive the prices of shipping up.

The latest ELD mandate is intended to keep the roads safer for truck drivers and the public. With HOS changes being suspended, it is unclear if ELDs will help drivers comply with new HOS changes (whenever they occur). These devices aim to please truck drivers and are necessary for HOS compliance and improved safety on the roads.