FMCSA proposes electronic logging devices for nearly all trucks
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Posted by: ATA Staff
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 13
issued a revised proposal to mandate that electronic logging devices be
installed in interstate commercial trucks and buses.
The agency says the requirement will better enforce
hours-of-service rules, reduce paperwork burdens on carriers and ensure that
drivers are not harassed.
The new proposal supplements the agency’s February 2011
proposal. According to Transport Topics, FMCSA stopped work on that requirement
in 2012 after a federal court ruled that a previous regulation mandating the
devices for some carriers did not properly prevent the ELDs from being used to
"Today’s proposal will improve safety while helping
businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork — exactly the type of government
streamlining President Obama called for in his State of the Union address,”
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "By leveraging
innovative technology with electronic logging devices, we have the opportunity
to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety
The proposal addresses new technical specifications for
ELDs, mandates ELDs for drivers currently using record of duty status,
clarifies hours-of-service supporting document requirements and outlines
procedural and technical provisions aimed at ensuring that ELDs are not used to
harass vehicle operators.
"By implementing electronic logging devices, we will advance
our mission to increase safety and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind
the wheel,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in the statement. "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
In an effort to allay drivers’ and motor carriers’ fears,
FMCSA said in its statement that the rule protects privacy because electronic
logs would only be available to law enforcement or FMCSA during roadside
inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.
"American Trucking Associations supports FMCSA’s efforts to
mandate these devices in commercial vehicles as a way to improve safety and
compliance in the trucking industry and to level the playing field with thousands
for fleets that have already voluntarily moved to this technology,” ATA
President Bill Graves said.
The rule would come with a new prohibition on carriers
harassing drivers, which could carry an $11,000 fine. Carriers must allow
drivers access to their logs, and the devices must be able to be muted when
FMCSA estimated the mandate would save 20 lives and prevent
434 injuries each year, with a net benefit to the country of $394.8 million
annually. "Impaired driving, including fatigue, was listed as a factor in more
than 12 percent of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks or
buses in 2012,” the agency said.
FMCSA will soon publish the proposal in the Federal
Register, starting a 60-day period during which the public can comment on it.
The agency will then consider the comments before making the rule final.
As proposed, the mandate would take effect two years after
FMCSA makes it final. Carriers and drivers using compliance electronic logs
will be allowed to continue using them for two more years after the rule takes