- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a new rule requiring truck drivers to use electronic logging devices (ELD) to record hours of service, as opposed to paper logbooks.
- The rule requires truck drivers who currently use paper logbooks to replace their system with ELDs within two years — a change which will affect an estimated 3 million drivers. Drivers with a truck manufactured before model year 2000 will not need to switch to ELDs, according to Trucking Info.
- Drivers are permitted to use smartphones and other wireless devices as their ELD, as long as the devices are certified and satisfy technical specifications.
There are plenty of benefits to electronic logging, including the ability to automatically record driving time, and monitor information such as engine hours, miles driven, and location. The FMCSA estimates that the new requirement will save an average of 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries each year.
The downside of switching to ELDs is ensuring that drivers are using proper devices. The association is also worried that the rule will allow opportunity to harass drivers using the ELDs, which is strictly prohibited.
"Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to Trucking Info. "This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk."
As associations like SWANA and NWRA work to make drivers and fleets more safe while they're on the road for day-to-day operations, the ELDs could add and important level of safety and security.