Impact of New Federal Rule: Required Electronic Logging

01/22/2016

After much anticipation and discussion, on Dec. 10, 2015 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the final rule regarding the mandate for electronic record keeping for truckers. The mandate, which requires truckers to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to log on-the-road hours, has been named the ELD mandate by those in the trucking industry. Fleet managers, truck drivers and other fleet industry professionals need to be aware of the new rules, when they will go into effect and how they will impact their fleets.

Details of the Rule

The rule, which went into effect in December, requires most commercial trucks to use an ELD to log hours of service. The rule applies to any commercial truck driver who is required to keep record of duty status (RODS) logbooks. Estimates indicate this will affect around 3 million commercial truckers.

Some trucks, however, will be exempt from the ELD mandate. If a truck has a model year of 2000 and older, connecting to the ELD is not easy because of the engine’s design. The final ruling excused these trucks from the requirement to use ELDs.

The four main elements of the ELD Final Rule, according to the FMCSA, include:

1. 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 impacted.

2. Strictly prohibiting commercial driver harassment. The Final Rule provides both procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs. (A separate FMCSA rule 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.)

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

4. 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.

The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smartphones 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 also will be required to use ELDs when operating on U.S. roadways.

The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smartphones 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 also will 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.

The Cost and Savings of the Bill

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), implementing this rule will cost trucking operators close to $1 billion. However, in the long term it will cut costs by reducing paperwork. Estimates indicate the savings should be around $2.4 billion because of the reduced paperwork. The rule also will increase the efficiency of law enforcement personnel who review driver records when stopping trucks. This, in turn, could limit the amount of time at DOT stops and improve fleet efficiency, as a whole.

The real reason behind the change, however, is not cost savings, but rather reduction in the number of crashes involving large commercial vehicles. Early estimates from the FMCSA indicate the rule could save 26 lives and prevent over 560 injuries each year.

Deadline

In order to give all fleets the chance to adhere to the ruling, carriers have two years from the publication date to implement the changes. This means that by the end of December 2017, all trucks on the highway must be compliant with the ruling.

If your fleet needs to make changes in order to comply, the sooner you make the changes, the more time you will have to learn and implement the technology across your fleet before the deadline. Track Your Truck can help you choose a system that is compliant with the new ruling while also a good fit for your fleet, based on your size and use needs. Since 1998, Track Your Truck has been helping fleet managers manage their drivers and their vehicles more efficiently with customizable solutions that offer affordable, intuitive tracking options — including ELDs to help fleets stay compliant. Visit our website to learn more about ELD compliance and Track Your Truck's options for your fleet, or contact our customer service team today.

The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smartphones 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 also will 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.

The Cost and Savings of the Bill

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), implementing this rule will cost trucking operators close to $1 billion. However, in the long term it will cut costs by reducing paperwork. Estimates indicate the savings should be around $2.4 billion because of the reduced paperwork. The rule also will increase the efficiency of law enforcement personnel who review driver records when stopping trucks. This, in turn, could limit the amount of time at DOT stops and improve fleet efficiency, as a whole.

The real reason behind the change, however, is not cost savings, but rather reduction in the number of crashes involving large commercial vehicles. Early estimates from the FMCSA indicate the rule could save 26 lives and prevent over 560 injuries each year.

Deadline

In order to give all fleets the chance to adhere to the ruling, carriers have two years from the publication date to implement the changes. This means that by the end of December 2017, all trucks on the highway must be compliant with the ruling.

If your fleet needs to make changes in order to comply, the sooner you make the changes, the more time you will have to learn and implement the technology across your fleet before the deadline. Track Your Truck can help you choose a system that is compliant with the new ruling while also a good fit for your fleet, based on your size and use needs. Since 1998, Track Your Truck has been helping fleet managers manage their drivers and their vehicles more efficiently with customizable solutions that offer affordable, intuitive tracking options — including ELDs to help fleets stay compliant. Visit our website to learn more about ELD compliance and Track Your Truck's options for your fleet, or contact our customer service team today.

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