The final rule to mandate the use of an electronic logging device (ELD) in commercial motor vehicles has recently been sent from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the Office of Secretary of Transportation. The core of the rule is that it will mandate the use of electronic logging devices by truck operators who are required to keep records of duty status, many of whom still use paper log books.
Electronic logging device provider, PeopleNet, released possible benefits of ELDs including:
• Saved time from completing paper logbooks
• Improved hours of service data which could help safety
• Reduced hours of service violations
• Driver can manually mute the device when in sleeper mode to allow for proper rest time
• Visibility to data can help empower drivers to fend off pressure by their carriers to operate tired/ill or beyond the HOS limits.
The rule must still go to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget before being sent back to the FMCSA for publication. The rule is projected by the DOT to be published Sept. 30th 2015, which would mean the rule would start being enforced in late 2017, after the two year implementation window.
Electronic Logging Device and Driver Coercion
The use of electronic logging devices promotes safety not only for the drivers, but for everyone on the road. It gives the ability for carriers and drivers to have visibility to the hours they are driving and ensure they are not violating any hours of service rules. This ensures that carriers can not harass or coerce the drivers while on the road because Hours of Service data can be electronically transferred to law enforcement.
The concern of driver harassment and coercion is also being address by the FMCSA in their notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued last May that would “prohibit motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicle in violation of certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)”. This includes HOS regulations but also any situation where a driver is threatened with “with loss of work or other economic opportunities for refusing to operate a CMV under circumstances that those entities knew or should have known would require a driver” to violate drug and alcohol testing rules and or hazmat regulations, as well.
Both of these proposed FMCSA rules could lead to change for the trucking industry. Shippers and brokers would be forced to conduct thorough inquiries into a driver’s hours of service via their electronic logging device (ELD) to ensure that they are not requiring drivers to violate federal regulations to complete a time-sensitive delivery or to avoid late delivery charges. If they are found guilty of knowingly requiring drivers to do this, they can face charges of up to $11,000.
Odyssey will be sure to monitor both proposed rules and will update you as needed.