Electronic logging devices affecting driver jobs

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted new legislation that employs technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue, a move that will affect driver jobs.

The new rule requires the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork.  It will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records.  Strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.

“This is a win for all motorists on our nation’s roadways,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.  “Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives.”

An ELD automatically records driving time.  It monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information.

Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, as well as the number of hours spent driving.  These limitations are designed to prevent truck and bus drivers from becoming fatigued while driving, and require that drivers take a work break and have a sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status.

The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on an FMCSA website.  Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers will also be required to use ELDs when operating on U.S. roadways.