Friday, October 30th was supposed to be judgment day, but it came and passed with no word. On October 30th the Final Rule to mandate the installation and use of electronic logging devices by truck drivers, championed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, was supposed be published. Instead the rule got hung up at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Just yesterday the rule was cleared, which means the rule will soon be officially published in the Federal Register.
Why is this ruling so important? If the rule becomes mandate, over 3.1 million vehicles across the country will need to be equipped with electronic logging devices to electronically log Hours of Service (HOS) within two years.
In 2012 the law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), was put into effect to help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reduce crashed, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Along with multiple enhanced safety standards, the law included a provision calling the FMCSA to develop a new rule requiring commercial motor vehicles to use electronic logging devices (ELD) to record HOS. On October 30th the FMCSA was supposed to announce the final rule about the new mandate.
While fleet owners and drivers are still awaiting the final decision, you can still do some prep work to prepare for the new mandate. Changing from paper log books to an electronic logging system will take some time. The new mandate doesn’t affect everyone, but will most likely affect the trucking industry.
According to the mandate as it is currently written, all commercial motor vehicles that weigh over 10,000 lbs. and/or vehicles transporting hazardous materials requiring placards are required to utilize an ELD. Compliance requires fleets to equip their vehicles with ELD and keep record of HOS logs for up to 6 months.
Also Read: Adapting to Change: Electronic Logging Devices
Fleet owners and owner-operators have multiple options in ELD solutions making the new ruling easy to manage. Fleets that utilize integrated ELD solutions can monitor and keep electronic logs to ensure HOS compliance and give managers and drivers the ability to proof upon DOT inspections. ELD software can also help fleets and drivers reduce HOS violations and improve Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.
While it will take some money and work to install an ELD into all commercial vehicles, there are many benefits to using an ELD.
- Receive real-time data: ELDs can send management electronic logs in real-time from anywhere in the country to ensure HOS compliance.
- Save money with insurance discounts: Insurance rates might go down by providing proof that a fleet or driver is HOS compliant.
- Reduce administration costs: Paying office staff or another company to manually audit paper logbooks is expensive. ELD systems can save money by reducing staff time and material resources spent on paper records.
- Improve dispatch processes: Dispatchers and managers can stay informed on drivers’ current HOS availability to better plan routes and logistics to ensure drivers don’t exceed their HOS threshold.
- Increase driver safety: ELD systems can help prevent tired drivers from getting behind the wheel and reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
- Improve roadside inspections: Paper logbooks are a pain during roadside inspections, but ELD systems can help drivers quickly and accurately provide DOT or law enforcement officers with current HOS logs.
Also Read: Can Electronic Logs Fix Detention Time?
Many fleets and owner-operators will be affected by the final ruling on the ELD mandate so keep your eye out for the final ruling over the following months. While it may seem like a lot of work and money to purchase these devices and switch to a new system, ELDs can help you reduce costs, reduce risks, and increase your overall revenue.