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Electronic Logging Devices Will Be Required in December 2017

Will These Devices Save Lives & Money?

Truck Driver Regulations Expert Witness / Truck Accident Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

The new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule will take effect in December 2017. At that time, drivers who have an ELD in their truck cabs will, in general, no longer be required to keep and maintain paper logs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has indicated the rule will save the industry $1 billion a year. The savings will come from the time and money saved on paperwork.


FMCSA Logo - Trucking Regulations Expert WitnessElectronic Logging Devices Required in December of 2017!

The FMCSA’s website says: “On an annual average basis, the ELD Final Rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles.”

Electronic Logging Device Mandate:

ELDs must be installed and in use by the December 16, 2017 deadline which is two years after the publication date. The mandate applies to all drivers who are required to keep records of duty status, except commercial drivers who 1) drive eight or fewer days out of every 30 working days; 2) drivers in drive-away and towing operations and 3) operators who are driving vehicles older than model year 2000.

Electronic Logging Device Specifications:

ELDs must be able to automatically record date, time and location information. Location will generally be in the form of GPS coordinates, but GPS is not required. It also must record engine hours which must be synchronized from the engine on and off time. Finally, the vehicle miles and driver identification information must be logged.

The rule also requires compliant devices to be able to transfer data during roadside inspections. Acceptable interfaces to supply the data include:  email, USB, Bluetooth, or a wireless Web-based services. In addition, ELDs must be able to display a graphic representation of the driver’s daily duty status changes. This must be generated either on the screen of the unit or available in a printout.

Driver Harassment Prevention:

The FMCSA’s new rule prevents motor carriers from using the ELDs to harass drivers. Motor carriers who are caught harassing drivers will be subject to significant fines. In addition, there will be a system in place that assists drivers in reporting any harassment.

Driver’s Supporting Documents:

Drivers must keep a maximum of eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period in which the driver has on-duty time. The documents may be in either electronic or paper form. For every 24-hour period that includes on-duty time. Drives must deliver the supporting documents to their carrier within 13 days of receiving them. Carriers must retain the documents for six months.

Acceptable supporting documents include:  1) bills of lading (BOL), itineraries, schedules or other any other documents that show trip origin and destination; 2) dispatch records, trip records or similar documents; 3) receipts for fuel, food or other expenses; 4) electronic mobile communication records sent through fleet dispatch management systems and/or 5) payroll records, mileage records, settlement sheets or similar documents which show how a driver was paid.

Carriers must keep eight of the documents submitted. If a commercial driver submits more than eight documents for any 24-hour period to the motor carrier, the company must keep the first and last document for the day and six others. If the driver submits less than eight documents, the carrier must retain all of them.

The rule does not apply to drivers who are operating vehicles made before the year 2000.


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