A new proposal issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that electronic log devices should be mandatory. The proposal covers all drivers who prepare hours-of-service records of duty status.
The proposal was green-lighted by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which spent seven months reviewing the terms.
According to the FMCSA, within two years all drivers need to be using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). The only exception is for those drivers using devices that meet the current automatic onboard recording device standard. These drivers will be able to use those devices another two years.
The FMCSA’s reasoning behind the requirements includes a reduction of a massive amount of paperwork that is involved with traditional methods. The industry will save about $1.4 billion a year in paperwork alone.
Another $400 million will also be saved in annualized safety benefits from preventing fatalities and injuries each year.
“By implementing Electronic Logging Devices, we will advance our mission to increase safety and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “With broad support from safety advocates, carriers and members of Congress, we are committed to achieving this important step in the commercial bus and truck industries.”
Impaired driving was a factor in more than 12 percent of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks or buses in 2012.
The proposal also included a provision to protect drivers from harassment by motor carriers using information from an ELD. It establishes a procedure for filing a harassment complaint and creates a maximum civil penalty of up to $11,000 for a motor carrier that engages in harassment of a driver that leads to an hours-of-service violation or the driver operating a vehicle when they are so fatigued or ill it compromises safety. The proposal ensures that drivers continue to have access to their own records and require ELDs to include a mute function to protect against disruptions during sleeper berth periods.
For those concerned about privacy, the FMCSA said that ELD records will continue to reside with the motor carriers and drivers. Electronic logs will be made available to FMCSA personnel or law enforcement during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.
What do you think about the new proposal? Are you using an ELD, and if so, do you like it? Let us know your thoughts below!