DOT to Require Electronic Logging Devices on Commercial Trucks, Buses

The adoption of the long-awaited final rule will improve roadway safety with new technology, according to the agency.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a final rule that will require truck and bus companies to install electronic data recording devices on vehicles for all CMV operations where the driver is required to complete hours of service record of duty status under 49 CFR 395.8. DOT's administrator said using the technology will strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers' compliance with hours of service regulations to prevent fatigue.

"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. "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."

FMCSA estimates that, by requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs), the rule will prevent 1,844 crashes and save 26 lives annually and will save more than $1 billion in paperwork while boosting the efficiency of law enforcement personnel reviewing driver records. "This is a win for all motorists on our nation's roadways," said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. "Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives."

According to the rule, the design of an ELD must allow only limited edits of an ELD record by both the driver and the motor carrier's agents, and the original record generated by the device cannot be changed.

These drivers are exempt from installing and using ELDs and may continue to use paper records:

  • Drivers who use paper records for not more than eight days during any 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct driveaway-towaway operations where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

The technical specifications for an ELD device that are in the rule say all ELDs must record certain information related to a driver's hours of service (HOS) status, but they are not required to track a CMV or driver in real time and are not required to include a capability to communicate between the driver and the motor carrier. But all ELDs must capture and transfer identical data regarding a driver's HOS status to authorized safety officials.

In the rule, FMCSA said it will provide a list of provider-certified ELDs on its website and that the final rule requires interstate motor carriers to use only an ELD that appears on that list; ELD providers must register through an FMCSA website and certify that their ELDs meet the technical specifications in the rule.

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