ELD mandate (requiring truck drivers to use electronic logging devices to track HOS compliance) promises to reduce truck accident crash rates
Today is a big day in the trucking world. The new federal ELD mandate takes effect today and requires all truck drivers to use “electronic logging devices” (ELDs), instead of “records of duty status” (RODS), to ensure their compliance with the hours-of-service (HOS) requirements set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
I realize I just used parenthesis four times in the paragraph above, and this may at first sound confusing. But the promised benefits – including to significantly lower the numbers of preventable truck accident injuries and deaths on our roads- are huge. This is tremendous, welcome news for the driving public, truck drivers and motor carriers. It’s a huge step forward to making the roads safer and prevent senseless, avoidable truck accidents.
As a truck accident attorney, a huge number of the more than 300 truck crash cases I have personally litigated over the past two decades involve truckers lying about their hours of service on paper log books, driving fatigued and over hours, and then crashing into other people on the road. The new ELD mandate won’t stop truckers from driving over hours, but it promises to make this much harder.
The ELD mandate was published on December 16, 2015 with the next two years slated as an awareness and transition phase, where ELD use was voluntary.
However, as of today’s “compliance date,” ELD use becomes mandatory.
As the FMCSA, itself, noted in the “Final Rule” of the ELD mandate:
“[A] study concerning the safety benefits of ELD-like devices” “found a significant reduction in the overall crash rate and the preventable crash rate for trucks with ELDs compared to trucks without ELDs.” (Pages 71-72 of the 126-page PDF)
What do truck drivers and motor carriers need to know about the ELD mandate?
Here are the highlights from the FMCSA’s 2017 “Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents – Frequently Asked Questions” publication:
- Motor carriers and “commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS)” are required to “comply with the electronic logging device (ELD) rule.”
- “A motor carrier must retain ELD record of duty status (RODS) data and back-up data for six months.”
- “FMCSA will not retain any ELD data unless there is a violation.”
- “Motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must start using ELDs by the compliance date of December 18, 2017, unless they are using a grandfathered Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRD).”
- “The ELD rule has provisions to prevent the use of ELDs to harass drivers. … FMCSA defines harassment as an action by a motor carrier toward one of its drivers that the motor carrier knew, or should have known, would result in the driver violating hours of service (HOS) rules in 49 CFR 395 or 49 CFR 392.3. These rules prohibit carriers from requiring drivers to drive when their ability or alertness is impaired due to fatigue, illness or other causes that compromise safety. To be considered harassment, the action must involve information available to the motor carrier through an ELD or other technology used in combination with an ELD.”
- “An ELD automatically records the following data elements at certain intervals: date; time; location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and identification information for the driver, authenticated user, vehicle, and motor carrier.”
- “ELDs are not required to collect data on vehicle speed, braking action, steering function or other vehicle performance parameters. ELDs are only required to collect data to determine compliance with hours of service (HOS) regulations.”