The ELD mandate: How we got where we are today.

truck driver documentation

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate has been all over trucking industry news. The mandate is expected to make big waves, affecting 3 million commercial vehicle drivers, according to the FMCSA1.

Regulators hope the ELD mandate will lead to more accurate hours of service (HOS) recordings and prevent drivers from being fatigued behind the wheel. The implementation of ELDs in trucks is expected to save 26 lives2 and prevent about 562 injuries per year.

Aside from increased safety, the mandate is also designed to save the industry up to $1 billion2 on paperwork.

But, as the trucking industry ushers in the ELD rule, what steps were involved in reaching this long-awaited decision? Let's walk through some events that were key to making this decision and also take a look at what's to come:



The Motor Carrier Act of 19353 states that the secretary of transportation may set requirements for qualifications, maximum HOS of employees, safety of operation and standards of motor carrier equipment when needed to promote safety of operation.



The United States Public Health Service organized the first study addressing driver fatigue in relation to the HOS for commercial truck drivers per the request of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Public Health Service study supported the need for regulatory limits of HOS to help guarantee highway safety.4



The Interstate Commerce Commission created the first HOS4 regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The federal government held motor carriers to a certain number of hours on the road to regulate rest in between.



The concerns regarding commercial vehicle drivers and vehicle safety were shifted4 to the Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) - a newly created agency within the USDOT.





The Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 was enforced and granted authority to the secretary of transportation to regulate drivers, motor carriers and vehicle equipment. The 1984 act also gave the secretary power in carrying out motor carrier safety statutes and rules to "prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements" and to "perform other acts the secretary considers appropriate." 3



The company to start offering compliant software for automatically recording drivers' hours of service information was Cadec, in collaboration with the Department of Transportation.



The Truck and Bus Safety and Regulatory Reform Act3 was established in anticipation of the secretary regulating the use of monitoring devices on commercial motor vehicles to increase compliance with HOS regulations. The statute as amended, mandated the agency make sure such devices were not used to "harass a vehicle operator."



U.S. Congress enacted the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" Bill (or MAP-21), which included a provision requiring the FMCSA to develop a rule mandating the use of ELDs.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act - enacted as part of MAP-21 made it mandatory that the secretary implement regulations requiring commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate commerce and operated by drivers who are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) to be equipped with ELDs.

The statute lays out provisions that the regulations must address, including device performance, design standards and certification requirements. By adopting regulations, the agency must consider how the need for supporting documents might be altered - to the extent data is captured on an ELD without taking away HOS enforcement. 3



On December 10th, a 516-page ELD Mandate was released6 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to establish performance and design standards for HOS ELDs.

Rules for the mandatory use of these devices by drivers include having to prepare HOS records of duty status.

The mandate also addresses requirements concerning HOS supporting documents and measures to take care of concerns about harassment as a result of the mandatory use of ELDs.



Truck drivers have until November 30th, 2017 to shift to ELDs if they have not already.

If drivers are already equipped with AOBRDs (automatic on-board recording devices) - they have until November 30th, 20197 to comply with an update to ELD technology.



Fleets must be equipped with ELDs (if trucks are using AOBRDs - this is only a software update based on the proposed rule) by November 30, 2019.7

There is no need to overhaul entire systems. Depending on the age of devices, trucks may have to switch out current display monitors for new ones.


Final thoughts.

While the freight shipping industry prepares for the ELD mandate, freight service providers can help offset the impact of the ELD mandate, which could reduce the number of trucks on the road or influence prices based on the cost to implement. Reliable freight service providers create efficient capacity with carriers and negotiate rates for shippers.


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