The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in December 2015 their final decision about the “Log Book”, the paper method for writing operating hours of service, used for more than 70 years. In the next two years, this method will be gradually replaced by the electronic version, the “Electronic Logging Device” or ELD, which means all operating truckers in the United States must adopt the new ELD and will have until mid-December 2017 to eliminate the use of paper “Log Books.”
The final rule will affect more than 3 million truckers and bus drivers in the United States. An ELDautomatically records driving time, the location of the truck, as well as monitoring engine hours and miles driven. According to the FMCSA, the ELD Final Rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries annually. The United States Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, stated: “This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk”.
The ELD is designed to facilitate and reduce the paperwork of documents, fuel receipts, etc., and effectively control the hours of service. In most cases, the operator will not have to keep the paper record that verifies his service hours, as they currently do.
The Final Rule permits the use of smart phones, tablets and other wireless devices like ELDs, as long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and listed on an FMCSA website. Strict regulations are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment by employers who try to intimidate or coerce their truckers to violate federal safety rules. FMCSA has the authority to punish trucking companies, brokers, intermediaries, and receivers transport of persons or goods.
It took around four years for the FMCSA to make this decision and it was based on the information collected by the Committee on Transportation Security and the advices from the shipping industry and public. The final rule on ELDs can be found on the website of the FMCSA: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices-and-hours-service-supporting-documents or you can go to https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/elds for more information like frequently asked questions and training. As always, you can call our office “The Defender of Truckers” at 1 (800) 970-5530 and we can help you.
Advice Writer: Attorney Gilber Geilim