Will ELD’s be Required for Interstate Truck Drivers?
During the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show, Apex Capital had the opportunity to attend the FMCSA’s Hot Topic seminar where Rand McNally presented the recent ELD proposal. The proposed rule requires interstate truck drivers to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) from a record of duty status (driver’s log) to record their hours of service (HOS).
Motor carriers have two years from the March 13, 2014 announcement to make the switch to ELDs. Drivers must use FMCSA registered ELDs, and the ELD must be connected (“integrally synchronized”) to the engine of the vehicle so drive time can be automatically recorded. The average annual cost of compliance for the new Rule will be between $165 and $832 per truck, according to CCJ Digital.
Rand McNally described the proposed benefits of the Rule, saying ELDs will be more accurate, they will record precise drive time logging, and they will reduce check calls and unintended miles.
Some ELD models feature integrated GPS, which produces better routes and traffic navigation. Several devices can also detect mechanical issues and automate fuel tax reporting, according to Rand McNally.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) supports the new Rule, as it believes ELDs will help regulate drivers’ HOS limits. While Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is concerned that mandatory ELD use will lead to driver harassment, and that carriers will pressure truck drivers into finishing their hours of service, rather than taking breaks to prevent exhaustion.
The ELD Proposal Provisions
The FMCSA is putting in place eight provisions to prevent this type of driver harassment.
- Requiring drivers’ access to records: Drivers would have access to their electronic log records “on or through” the devices. Carriers are also required to give their drivers copies of their records when asked.
- Explicitly prohibiting harassment: Carriers are prohibited from harassing drivers with ELDs. This means a carrier can’t use information saved in the ELDs that would make a driver violate FMCSA regulations, such as not taking a break for fatigue or illness.
- Complaint procedures: The Rule includes a formal process for drivers to file harassment complaints. Complaints must include what the carrier did and how ELDs were used in the harassment.
- Penalties to deter harassment: Under the new provisions, ELD harassment is now considered an HOS violation.
- Require mute functionality: To prevent harassment by carriers through ELDs, ELDs are required to be muted and the sound turned off during rest periods when drivers have switched the ELD to sleeper berth status. If the device doesn’t automatically mute, drivers have the option to manually mute the ELDs when in sleeper berth status.
- Edit rights: Both drivers and carriers will be allowed to edit logs in the ELDs, although the edits will not overwrite the original record. Edits will need to include the name of the person editing the record and the reason for the edit. If a carrier edits the log, the log will need to be approved by the driver and same if the driver edits the log, the carrier will need to approve it.
- Limiting portions of vehicle location tracking: ELDs will not provide real-time vehicle tracking of a driver’s location to carriers or law enforcement. Carriers will only be able to see a driver’s status when a driver changes duty status, a driver enters personal use or yard moves, the truck’s engine turns on or off, or at 60-minute intervals when the truck is moving.
- Allowing privacy in enforcement proceedings: Under MAP-21, drivers’ personal information will be protected in enforcement proceedings. The FMCSA says it will remove driver information before a document is released to the public.
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