Federal Electronic Log Device Mandate Rings in New Year

Every new year brings in new changes and this year is no different for the trucking industry. Since December 18, 2017, a law requiring that all carriers and drivers transition from using paper driver logs to electronic logging devices (ELDs) for tracking hours of service (HOS) has been in effect. It is the result of an effort to reduce driver hours and minimize accidents while improving safety for motorists on the nation’s highways. As with any change, there are mixed reviews and results.

Below is an implementation timeline for the ELD rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) www.fmsca.dot.gov:

Some drivers and carriers are exempted from the rule. Companies and owner/operators hauling livestock have been given a stay until March 2018 to comply with the ELD rule. Also exempt are vehicles older than 2000 and short-haul (100 miles) drivers and carriers.

As with any government rule, interpreting it into plain English is sometimes a challenge. Here’s a basic primer on the e-log mandate that specifies what it entails.

In the 1930s, under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, truck drivers were required to track their hours on paper, in logbooks frequently referred to as “comic books” because well, they could be manipulated manually. It’s no secret that a logbook showing falsified sleep-versus-drive times contributes to deadly driver-fatigue accidents.

In 2012, Congress passed the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill (MAP21) that included a provision requiring mandatory ELDs that track driver activity and movement in real time. Installation of the devices became mandatory in December 2017 and carriers and owner/operators have until December 12, 2019 to be fully compliant. Or face significant fines. The device is meant to record a driver’s record of duty status to show compliance with HOS requirements. Since the law was published in 2015, many companies have not delayed in embracing the new technology, working out the kinks in converting low-tech drivers into high-tech users while keeping costs within budget and getting loads to customers on time.

Specific requirements of the rule are as follows: driver hours must be tracked electronically; the hours must be synchronized with the truck’s engine to ensure driving segments are captured; and the data must be passed to the safety or fleet manager on a real- time basis to maintain the required oversight. Many systems also incorporate map and route solutions to optimize navigation that restricts movement (traffic, accidents and construction).

Proponents of the ELDs point out its obvious benefits: it saves drivers time by reducing paperwork; it ensures the driver is maintaining the required driving-to-rest schedule; and it keeps the carrier current for optimum load planning.

On the other side, opponents point out such issues as faulty software, privacy protection, extended wait times at the customers loading dock that eat into drive time; and parking limitations due when it’s time to sleep. Delays in this business are costly and affect all parties involved. It’s going to take a collaborative approach to keep the wheels turning in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

And Veltri is no different. Safer highways for our drivers and other motorists is always the goal. If you want to know how the ELD rule has been implemented at Veltri, Inc., give us a call at 215-946-6400.

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