You’ve likely heard about the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate over the past few years, as it has been a popular and controversial topic within the transportation industry and the legislative world. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) recently announced that a final ruling has been established for these e-logging devices and when their usage will become mandatory.
The basic premise of the new mandate is that all commercial motor carriers must use certified, registered ELDs to record their driving time. The FMCSA will require these electronic devices in order to eliminate the usage of paper logs, which will also eradicate the errors and inconsistencies that can arise from manual logging. These “e-logs,” as they’re commonly called in the industry, will automatically record driving time based on the vehicle’s engine, movement, location, and miles driven. Therefore, the technology provides a foolproof way to track hours of service.
Currently, there are a variety of methods used to log driving time across the industry. For many, it’s using paper and pencil, and for others, automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) are used. This means more work to sync and consolidate data from multiple sources. The FMCSA estimates that by switching to ELDs, there will be an annual net benefit of more than a billion dollars.
More importantly, however, the FMCSA also estimates that 26 lives will be saved and 562 injuries involving large commercial vehicles will be prevented by being able to more accurately track and enforce drivers’ hours of service. While a paper log can be “fudged” in order to hide an hours of service violation, permitting a trucker to drive for a longer period of time than allowed by law, the e-logs will clearly indicate when a driver has broken the hours of service regulations, discouraging this behavior. The FMCSA strongly believes that getting drivers off the road before they are fatigued will prevent accidents.
There are two different enforcement dates, depending upon the logging methods that a carrier is currently using. For those using paper logs or logging software, the transition to using ELD’s must occur no later than December 18, 2017. For those currently using AOBRDs or non-compliant version of ELDs, the transition to the new e-logging devices must occur by December 16, 2019.
The FMCSA is still currently discussing possible consequences of not abiding by the new ELD mandate, as the first compliance date is still two years away. However, as with any mandate, it’s better to just be prepared and be in compliance as soon as you can. Another type of consequence that should be noted is this: since ELDs will more accurately record hours of service (HOS), this will make any HOS violation far easier to discover. These violations carry the potential of thousands of dollars’ worth of fines.
We’re closely monitoring the ELD situation as it unfolds. We’ll be updating this article as new information becomes available.
To read the official mandate, click here.
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