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Electronic Logging Devices
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a proposal on March 13, 2014, necessitating commercial trucking and busing companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). This Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) supersedes the 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), incorporating and addressing concerns over the first ELD proposed rule in 2012’s highway reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21; H.R.4348). This SNPRM would improve the quality of logbook data and reduce the paper waste associated with HOS recordkeeping.
On the topic of this proposal, Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx said, “By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors." Due to the fact that ELDs make it more difficult for drivers to falsify their HOS, these devices will ultimately reduce the number of crashes by fatigued truck drivers. Analyses estimate that annually this electronic logging system will prevent 20 fatal accidents and 434 injuries, totaling a safety benefit of $394.8 million.
The SNPRM includes provisions to respect driver privacy, safeguard drivers from harassment, and increase the efficiency of law enforcement and inspectors reviewing driver logs. ELD records will be kept by motor carriers and drivers, and will only be made available to authorities during roadside inspections, compliance reviews, and post-crash investigations. The proposal explicitly prohibits carrier owners from using ELD data to harass drivers, or coerce drivers into violating HOS regulations by driving fatigued. Finally, ELDs make it extremely difficult to falsify records, so personnel that review this data are no longer tasked with fact checking, increasing the competence and productive time use of inspectors.
On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, FMCSA issued through the Federal Register an NPRM mandating Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBR) for all commercial motor vehicles (CMV) that operate in interstate commerce. The proposal affected all motor carriers that previously used logbooks to comply with HOS regulations, and it provided relief from delivering certain HOS supporting documents to verify driving time. This was the second major EOBR rulemaking issued by FMCSA, behind the final rule issued in April 2010. The first ruling required carriers demonstrating a 10 percent or greater violation rate for certain HOS regulations during a compliance review to install EOBRs in all of their CMVs and use them for two years. This was voided with the 2011 NPRM.
The Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA’s) Board of Directors voted to adopt a policy supporting ELDs in March 2011. The Board used the term "ELDs" instead of "EOBRs" to differentiate between devices used solely for HOS logging purposes (ELDs) and those that can track hard braking, acceleration, and other safety-critical events (EOBRs).
On July 6, 2012, the most recent highway reauthorization bill, MAP-21; H.R.4348 was passed into law. Included in the new highway bill is a provision that mandates ELDs in CMVs. The provision tasks the Department of Transportation (DOT) with regulating the use of ELDs to record HOS in CMVs.
February 2012 SNPRM
February 2011 NPRM