Required Electronic Logbooks Look To Be On Their Way

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced the proposal of another rule. This one would put Electronic Logging Devices into every interstate commercial truck (and bus) on the road. We’ve written about the regulation of driving hours in the past. By requiring the ELDs, the FMCSA is hoping to increase compliance with the limits.

Drivers who already follow restrictions on driving times might not have much of an issue with the proposed rule. The ELDs will eliminate the paperwork and recordkeeping required to track their work. In fact, the FMSCA points out that hours-of-service recordkeeping for trucks and buses is the second largest paperwork burden of the federal government after the filing of taxes.

The FMCSA is framing this as an opportunistic use of technology to increase efficiency by lessening the burden on drivers, their employers, and the agencies that regulate them. In addition to driving hours being easier to track and check, the rule is expected to lead to less hours-of-service violations that hurt the industry and use up government resources.

The ELDs would make it more difficult for drivers to fabricate their hours-of-service, particularly when under pressure to get more work done in less time. Having less exhausted drivers on the road should make it safer, saving money from crashes, and more importantly, lives.

Supporters of the rule include safety advocates, carriers, and some members of Congress. Those who do not support the change in rule might find some comfort in the fact that certain limits are being placed within it. For example, ELD records will stay with drivers and motor carriers, and will only need to be presented to the authorities during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and investigations following a crash. There is also a provision that restricts harassment of a driver from their motor carrier involving an ELD, which is important considering the increased pressure that drivers might face.

Hopefully the rule, if enacted, will work as intended, increasing efficiency and making the roads safer for all. For more information on the rule, visit the FMCSA website. Is it a reasonable, good-faith endeavor? An unwarranted intrusion that will only make things more complicated? What do you think of the proposed rule?

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