Weekly Compliance Digest – FMCSA Electronic Logging Devices Rule

December 18, 2015 By
In this edition of the Weekly Compliance Digest, we cover a final rule by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on electronic logging devices for truck and bus drivers.

FMCSA Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents

What is it?

On December 10, 2015, the FMCSA announced the adoption of a Final Rule that aims to improve roadway safety through technology designed to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations. Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, and the number of hours spent driving. The regulations aim to prevent truck and bus drivers from experiencing fatigue while driving, and require that drivers take a work break and have a sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status.

Who is affected?

The rule applies to motor carriers regulated by the FMCSA. Many different industries are affected, such as:

  • Freight trucking
  • Couriers and express delivery
  • Local messengers and local delivery
  • Bus transportation

What are the requirements?

The Final Rule requires the use of electronic logging devices (ELD). An ELD automatically records driving time. It monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information. Specifically, the final rule:

  • Requires commercial truck and bus drivers that currently use paper log books to maintain hours-of-service records to adopt ELDs within two years. Approximately three million drivers will be impacted, the FMCSA says.
  • Prohibits commercial driver harassment. The rule provides procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs. See also one of our past Weekly Compliance Digests.
  • Sets technology specifications detailing performance and design requirements for ELDs so that manufacturers are able to build compliant devices and systems, and purchasers are enabled to make informed decisions.
  • Establishes new hours-of-service supporting document requirements (shipping documents, fuel purchase receipts, etc.) that will result in additional paperwork reductions.

The rule allows the use of smartphones and other wireless devices as ELDs, as long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on an FMCSA website. Drivers living in Canada and Mexico will also be required to use ELDs when they operate in the U.S.

What is next?

The Final Rule is published in the Federal Register, and is effective as of February 16, 2016. The Compliance Date is December 18, 2017.

The implementation timeline of the rule includes two compliance deadlines:

  • Carriers and drivers that use paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs as of December 18, 2017, i.e. the compliance date.
  • Carriers and drivers that use Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDS) that were installed prior to December 18, 2017 must transition to ELDs as of December 17, 2019.

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The Weekly Compliance Digest will take a break for the holidays, and will be back on Friday January 8, 2016.


Categories: EHS

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