Understanding the E-Log Mandate

To take Effect Dec. 16, 2017

Woman truck driver in a big rig talking on the C.B. radio.

A federal rule to require truck operators to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) to keep records of duty status is slated to be published in the Federal Register, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced. The rule will take effect Dec. 16, 2017, giving carriers and drivers a two-year window to comply with the rule’s requirements.

Upon beginning use of an ELD, drivers will no longer be required to keep and maintain paper logs. They will, however, be required to maintain supporting documentation and submit them to their carrier or, for owner-operators, keep them on file.

The rule requires drivers currently keeping paper logs to use ELDs to keep records of duty service, with a few exceptions.

  1. Those keeping records of duty status in 8 or fewer days out of every 30 working days
  2. Drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations
  3. Truckers operating vehicles older than model year 2000, a change made from 2014’s proposed version of the rule

The devices must be installed and in use by Dec. 16, 2017—exactly two years after its scheduled Dec. 16, 2015, publication date.

The rule also spells out safeguards against driver harassment via the devices, hardware specifications of the devices and supporting documentation drivers must continue to keep after the mandate.

FMCSA says the rule will save the industry $1 billion a year, mostly in time and money saved on paperwork, the agency says. It also says the rule will “save 26 lives and 562 injuries” a year, the agency said in a press release.

Device Specifications

ELDs that meet the minimum standards spelled out in the rule will not be required to track a vehicle or a driver in real-time. They also will not be required to include driver-carrier communication capabilities.

They must, however, be able to automatically record date, time and location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and ID information of the driver using the device.

The devices must sync with its corresponding vehicle’s engine to record engine on and off time.

The rule also requires compliant devices to be able to transfer data during roadside inspections “on-demand,” via either a wireless Web-based services, email, USB 2.0 or Bluetooth. The rule also stipulates that the ELDs “present a graph grid of a driver’s daily duty status changes either” on the units themselves or in printouts.

CNS has ELD’s available that are compliant with the mandate. Our Compliance Navigation Specialists can help you determine the best route for you and your entire company.

Supporting documents

Drivers, while not required to keep paper logs, still must keep a maximum of eight supporting documents, either electronic or paper, for every 24-hour period that includes on-duty time. They must submit these supporting documents to their carrier within 13 days of receiving them, and carriers must retain the documents — along with records of duty status — for six months.

Supporting documents include:

  1. Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules or other documents that show trip origin and destination
  2. Dispatch records, trip records or similar documents
  3. Expense receipts
  4. Electronic mobile communication records sent through fleet management systems
  5. Payroll records, settlement sheets or similar documents that show what and how a driver was paid

If a driver submits to a carrier more than eight documents for a 24-hour period, the carrier must keep the first and last document for the day and six others. If fewer than eight are submitted, carriers must retain all of them.

Harassment of drivers

A similar ELD-mandate set for implementation in 2012 was tossed in court over its lack of protection against driver harassment. In accordance with that, FMCSA’s new rule makes it illegal for carriers to use the devices to harass drivers, puts in place fines for doing so and puts in place a system for drivers to report such instances.

The rule defines harassment of drivers via an ELD as any action by a carrier toward a driver that the carrier “knew or should have known” would have interrupted a driver’s off-duty time. “Harassment must involve information available to the motor carrier through an ELD or other technology used in combination with and not separable from an ELD,” the rule states.

Don’t go through this transition alone!  Contact us today to help.

The Transition to E-Logging Is Coming

home-electronic-tracking-bgAre you prepared to switch from paper log books to an electronic logging device?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will soon require all carriers to install some type of electronic on-board monitoring device in vehicles to track vehicle status and how many hours a driver has been on the road. The trucking industry has been using the same system–paper log books—since 1938, but with the rise of technology and capabilities, the switch to GPS logging could significantly improve highway safety by preventing driver fatigue. It also will give companies a more accurate view of what is actually happening with their drivers.

On June 23, 2015, the transportation subcommittee of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee passed a bill that will set specific date by which the FMCSA must publish the final version of the Electronic Device Mandate. It is believed that the ELDM could come as early as the second half of 2016. Check back here for updates on that date.

The FMCSA Electronic Device Mandate has four basic parts:

  • The requirement to use ELDs in place of paper log books
  • Protections against driver harassment
  • Hardware specifications for the devices
  • Hours-of-service related supporting documents drivers must continue to carry after the mandate

Electronic GPS/logging devices are revolutionizing the way large motor carriers transport goods, collect data and communicate in real-time. They can assure that products arrive on time, operators are less fatigued and our roadways are safer for everyone. It won’t be long before these multi-purpose GPS monitoring units are installed in every truck in America.

Many fleet companies are already installing in-cab electronic systems in all of their vehicles. That’s because the devices track driving hours, fuel efficiency factors, location and critical events like hard braking and the activation of trailers’ roll stability controls. All of that is communicated in real time to the company, by satellite or cell tower, and can be used to make decisions en route.

We have already heard testimonies of how the devices have helped fleet companies reduce deadheading (trailers traveling empty between unloading and reloading) and increase fuel efficiency improvements as much as a tenth of a mile per gallon per year.

Although big trucking companies are eagerly adopting data strategies in their business models, smaller carriers have been less enthusiastic. There’s no reason to fear the future. CNS can help everyone understand how to manage the transition from paper logs to e-logging. We’re here for you! Contact one of our specialists today with your questions.