Since the 2012 announcement of the “Moving Ahead for progress in the 21st century” (Map 21) congressional bill, American truckers and those associated with the truck driving industry have been eagerly (or indifferently) awaiting a conclusive mandate regarding the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). As explained in our previous post, an ELD is essentially an electronic device that records a driver’s Record Of Duty Status (RODS) and ultimately serves as a substitute for a driver manually logging their compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements via pen and paper. The good news is that on December 10th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officially announced the adoption of a Final Rule regarding the impending requirement for all motor carriers to house and employ the new ELD Technology.
The American Trucking Association wasted no time in expressing their approval of the final mandate, calling the adoption of the game changing technology a landmark moment for the industry.
“Today is truly a historic day for trucking,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “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.”
The Final Rule amendments consist of 4 primary components: (1) A clarification and finalization of required supporting documents, as well as extension of their submission window; (2) A final rule on technical specifications required for ELDs to be eligible; (3) a pair of optional exemptions from ELD use (including driveaway-towaway operations and CMVs older than model year 2000); and (4) Final terms concerning ELD certification allowance, ensuring fair warning and due process for companies to deal with potential product compliance issues.
The rule applies to all motor carriers and drivers required to keep paper logs of HOR regulations under Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, save for the above mentioned exemptions or those Drivers who use paper logs for not more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
It is worthy to mention that not all members of the industry have found themselves in approval of the new ELD mandate, with some people expressing doubts regarding the overall validity of the project’s value.
“Do electronic logging devices truly improve highway safety? Nothing has been presented to indicate that, in fact, that is true. In fact, we see the opposite,” said OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer via a Landline Magazine article, “Onboard recorders are all about productivity and enhancing productivity, which basically puts those in constant conflict with the legitimate safety needs of drivers.”
Like it or not, the rule is officially a go, and truckers across the country will be incorporating ELDs into their rig. As of the Final Rule announcement, drivers have 2 years to implement the new technology, making December 10th 2017 the deadline for compliance. As for the ultimate utility of the devices in matters of safety and efficiency, things remain to be seen, and there’s no doubt that we can anticipate a slew of studies concerning the matter in upcoming years.