ELD – Electronic Logging Devices to be Required for the Commercial Truck Industry

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced, this past December, the adoption of a Final Rule that will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue. The final rule will eliminate the use of pencil and paper, which has been a considerable hassle for them to verify.  The new automated technology brings it into the modern age making it easier for the safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that might put lives at risk.

The government is estimating an annual benefit of over 1 billion dollars by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. Most importantly it will improve the roadside law enforcement by providing quicker and more efficient reviews of driver records, minimizing commercial drivers from being harassed. The ELD Final Rule is estimating they will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving commercial motor vehicles.  An ELD automatically records driving time.  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 number of hours spent driving.  These limitations are designed to prevent truck and bus drivers from becoming fatigued while driving and require that drivers take a work break and have sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status.

The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on an FMCSA website. Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers will also be required to use ELDs when operating on U.S. roadways. Motor carriers who have previously installed compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Devices may continue to use the devices for an additional two years beyond the compliance date.


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