The debate over the merit of ELD (Electronic Logging Device) may not be over, but time is running out. On March 13th the FMCSA released the new ELD regulations. FMCSA will hold a 60 day commentary period ending May 16th before finalizing the regulations. The agency could alter the rule at that time depending on the input and conversation they receive.
Pro ELD Regulations
FMCSA listed the following bullet points:
• Respect driver privacy by ensuring that ELD records continue to reside with the motor carriers and drivers. Electronic logs will continue to only be made available to FMCSA personnel or law enforcement during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.
• Protect drivers from harassment through an explicit prohibition on harassment by a motor carrier owner towards a driver using information from an ELD. It will also establish 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 will also ensure 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.
• Increase efficiency for law enforcement personnel and inspectors who review driver logbooks by making it more difficult for a driver to cheat when submitting their records of duty status and ensuring the electronic logs can be displayed and reviewed electronically, or printed, with potential violations flagged. – FMCSA News Release
As reported in Transport Topics, ATA President and CEO Bill Graves stated, “The American Trucking Association 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 of fleets that have already voluntarily moved to this technology,”
Con ELD Regulations
OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) had this to say, “The issue of cost to truckers and what specific technical requirements are called for, especially when FMCSA has yet to show any direct safety benefit between ELD/EOBR use and reduced crashes, will be a critical focus of our review of the proposal.”
Two other points of contention mentioned by many are:
• The devices don’t record duty status required by HOS (Hours of Service) regulations.
• There’s no evidence the regulations will control the use of electronic devices to harass drivers, attempting to force them to drive in unsafe conditions.
Most of reviews of the new ELD regulations aren’t 100% pro or con. There seems to be questions from both camps. Many call for additional studies, some want to alter or reword certain points, while others want more information. Regardless of where you stand on this topic the time to share your opinion is now.