Logging device mandate could come in 2016, outlines hardware spec’s, harassment provisions

| March 13, 2014

The new electronic logging rule includes provisions intended to prevent driver harassment involving the devices.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced March 12 a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to mandate electronic logging devices.

The rule’s effective date and publication date in the Federal Register still are unknown, but it’s likely the rule will go into effect in late 2016. The  proposal says it will go into effect two years after the final rule is issued, presumably later this year.


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The American Trucking Associations welcomed the proposal. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association expressed doubt about its ability to satisfy MAP-21 requirements and said it will closely study the proposed rule.

The rule consists of four parts:  (1) The requirement to use ELDs, (2) Protections against driver harassment (3) Hardware specifications for the devices and (4) the hours of service-related supporting documents drivers must continue to carry after the mandate.

Here’s a breakdown of each component:

Mandating ELDs

The mandate will apply to all drivers who are currently required to keep paper records of duty status. Drivers who are required to keep records of duty status in eight or more days out of every 30 days must use an ELD, replacing the 2011 rule’s requirement that drivers who keep records of duty status two or more days out of every seven use a logging device.


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Carriers and drivers would not be required to install or use a logging device until two years after the effective date of the final rule. Carriers who used what the agency calls “automatic onboard recording devices” prior to the ELD mandate, however, have two more years on top of that to comply.


Driver harassment by way of e-logs was the key factor that caused a court to throw out the last ELD mandate.  The new ELD rule includes provisions to prevent driver harassment involving the devices.

According to the rule, the agency says its two “primary focuses” relative to driver harassment were pressures on drivers to exceed hours of service limits and “inappropriate communications that affect drivers’ rest periods.”

Proposed safeguards against harassment in the new rule include expanded drivers’ access to records, explicit wording about carriers harassing drivers, implementing a complaint procedure, stiffening penalties for those who do harass drivers, “edit rights” for drivers, limitations on location tracking, mute functionality for the devices and preserving driver confidentiality in enforcement proceedings.

See an extended story on the rule’s harassment safeguards Friday, March 14.

Hardware specifications

The devices required by the new rule are more technologically advanced than those required by the April 2010 rule, FMCSA says.

The new rule requires ELDs to be integrated with the truck’s engine and to use location information. They also must be tamper-resistant. The devices will track the truck’s movement but can allow for annotations by both drivers and carriers “to explain or correct records,” the rule says.

FMCSA is developing with states software to be able to receive, analyze and display data from ELDs so that roadside officers can use the information, according to the rule.

ELDs, as opposed to their EOBR and AOBRD  (electronic onboard recorder and automatic onboard recording device) predecessors, sync with a truck’s engine to capture power status, motion status, miles driven and engine hours, FMCSA says. They also automatically enter changes of duty status, 60-minute intervals while the truck’s moving and engine-on and engine-off instances, according to the rule.

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.

The rule also stipulates the connectivity methods, which include Bluetooth 2.1, email, USB 2.0 and more.

Supporting documents

Carriers and drivers will still be required to maintain documentation that verifies drivers’ hours of service records. “Supporting documents” can refer to either paper or electronic documents.

Documents verifying driving time would not need to be kept, FMCSA says, but ones that verify periods of drivers’ on-duty not driving time must be maintained.

For every 24-hour period the driver is on duty, carriers must maintain no more than 10 supporting documents from either of these categories (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 or (5) payroll records, settlement sheets or similar documents that show what and how a driver was paid.


The Supplement Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows an FMCSA rule from April 2010 that mandates the use of EOBRs. That entire rule, however, was vacated in August 2011 by a federal court.

The annualized cost of compliance for the new rule will be between $165 and $832 per truck, according to the rule.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it knows of no device that can automatically record a driver’s duty status, which is what OOIDA says Congress required in MAP-21.

“We will examine the proposal in detail to see how the agency has attempted to meet these requirements, especially considering that an important study on the harassment issue is still listed as ‘ongoing’ on the FMCSA website,” says OOIDA’s statement. “Further, the issue of cost to truckers and what specific technical requirements are called for, especially when FMCSA has yet to show any direct safety benefit between ELD/EOBR use and reduced crashes, will be a critical focus of our review of the proposal.  This is the first stage in the regulatory process for the agency’s latest attempt to craft a rule on this topic, and OOIDA and small business truckers will certainly be weighing in and providing comments.”

The American Trucking Associations said it “welcomes” the mandate. “ATA supports FMCSA’s efforts to mandate these devices in commercial vehicles as a way to improve safety and compliance in the trucking industry and to level the playing field with thousands for fleets that have already voluntarily moved to this technology,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.

ATA was one a key proponent in pushing for the ELD mandate’s inclusion in the 2012 MAP-21 highway funding act.

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  • Debieve

    I don’t trust nobody in Government. .I’ve shut down every time there’s been a strike..to no avail..ya’ll call yourselves truckers yet u act like children..you vote people into office then you. Complain..If you can’t do something about thsee ridiculous rule then STFU..35 yrs in trucking says nothing about the Frickin job I do ..no one cares they just want dummies behind the wheel..I personally am against anything forced on a person..it can never be for my own good..wake up truckers and stand up for your rights..

  • Robert

    The truck driver need one really good union and real organization , because the truck drivers is along into the world in us.

  • Steve

    So what will the penalty be for those of us that choose not to comply? Is any organization looking for a test case?

    I plan on changing the signs if this goes through, and just pull my travel trailer. Then I can drive 24/7-365 if I want to, no regs for RV’s!

  • Steve

    I can buy 10 years of preprinted logs with my company name, address, etc. filled out for less than a few months fee with ELD’s, and I’m safer because I actually follow the law. Just this week I logged four hours on duty not driving, as I was told I was responsible for the count. I bet not one of the other drivers there on ELD’s logged more than 15 minutes.

    It’s not the ELD that makes an honest log, it’s integrity. You either have it or you don’t! Integrity is doing what’s right even when you are certain no one would never know. And now with ELD’s you have to persuade the back office people to have integrity as well. Integrity is not just doing the right thing because you are afraid you may be caught. And from what I can tell there is no one at those big companies editing ELD’s that has an ounce of integrity! ELD’s just made cheating on logs a process that involves more than just the driver.

  • AC Cargo

    Who do you think all these regulations are voted by? Of course by industry experts, such as executives at these big trucking companies. It’s all about money in here…The FMCSA doesn’t care if there is minus one truck driver on the road or minus other citizen that got killed by a trucker. There are to many small carriers that need to be taken off the market. It’s stupid and I can’t believe that FMCSA would think people don’t understand.

    Let them first get out and regulate those shippers and receivers that reserve themselves 5 hours for loading/unloading… Then, after a driver can get in and out from each facility within 2 hours or so, check their safety ratings.

    This regulations sounds like Coca-Cola doing studies and implementing requirements for citizens to stay on diet. Bull shit!

  • alltransco

    Apparently Ayrio and coffeeclue are company drivers, assuming experience levels of 3 years or less, have never used anything but electronic logs and obviously don’t keep up with FACTUAL political facts….
    That’s all that I have to say..

  • Yeyo

    Settle down kids, your screwed either ways so why even argue

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  • Outlaw284

    actually they fixed either the company or the driver from being able to change the log and get away with it. if the company changes a log there is an asterax next to the log that CAN NOT be removed so when the log is reviewed and they ask why it is there they have to have a good reason or be fined and it is the office not the driver that gets fined because the only thing a driver can change on a log is his off duty and on duty time the driving time can’t be changed. So you can change the log to a point but not enough to help you any because as soon as the truck starts moving you are logged on duty and your 14 hour clock starts.

  • Outlaw284

    the only reason it is tied into your ecm is to keep track of the truck running and the miles that is it it doesn’t do a think to your ecm.

  • Outlaw284

    people complaining about the eld being required isn’t any different than people complaining about new engines. no one wants them until they have to have them and then they find out they aren’t as bad as they thought. all these people complaining about eld’s haven’t used one before and don’t want to change anything because they know they can’t cheat them like they can a paper log so they don’t want them. I am an O/O and I have been using one for the last 2 years and it hasn’t cost me a dime in earnings not one dime. as to the safety part and people saying that they have nothing to do with safety that part goes back to the HOS and people not following them and cheating on their logs that is why we have the HOS’s that we have because of people cheating them with paper logs. I did my share of cheating them when I ran paper logs and the eld’s are just like any other log you can cheat them to a point but you can’t cheat them like a paper and that is what they are trying to get rid of for safety. Yeah you can argue that if they did something about the pay then you could fix the cheating log problem but that will never happen because you have to many O/O’s out there that don’t have a clue about how much it costs to run their truck and will take anything thinking they are making money and then finding out they didn’t make shit so they have to run like hell to make it up. Here in lies the problem. You want to fix the problem of people cheating on logs then fix the pay but since you can’t do that then you try to fix the problem another way. you can’t make a company pay a certain amount to get their freight hauled and you can’t stop jippos from hauling it for next to nothing. if any of you do your homework you will find that the major companies are getting paid more then you think per mile on their contracts for hauling freight. I know for a fact that Swift was making close to 3 dollars per mile on their contracts in the early 2000’s so you can’t blame the big companies for cutting the rates. The biggest problem for the O/O is the O/O jippo who will haul freight for next to nothing thinking he is making money and I have seen a lot of them over my 30 years of trucking.
    so to finish this off all you guys that run your mouth about your going to quit trucking when you have to have a eld or you are going to sue I say this.. Hope the best for you and thanks for that much more freight to haul but I know most all of you are just blowing air and aren’t going to quit so get used to it it is coming and is going to happen.

  • Alvin

    I see no use for elds if a driver is running legal paper logs are just as good why let electronics do what a driver should learn to do from day one all elds are making drivers even lazier

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  • William McKelvie

    PARDON ME? I see the FMCSA is at it again, once again creating what is unfair competition. READ : Carriers and drivers would not be required to install or use a logging device until two years after the effective date of the final rule. Carriers who used what the agency calls “automatic onboard recording devices” prior to the ELD mandate, however, have two more years on top of that to comply. END. Wow, how is that right? Some folks have to comply completely but others don’t? Smells like the same manure as the HOS exemptions being handed out. The FMCSA needs to be overhauled. .

  • km

    If everybody grew some hair on your peaches for 3 days, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We control the cards, without trucks moving freight everything stops, 3 days and the shelves start to get empty… for the ones that say you can’t stop for 3 days, you should not be here anyway…. been at this 36 years..worst drivers I have ever seen, why…. 20 days of driving school, and they didnot have skills to start with, doing it cause they think its a easy job…… wake up !!

  • jimmy


  • Mauricio Peraza

    Small companies, like mine, with only five trucks will be affected by thousands of dollars a year and does no good for the little profit we see at the end of the week. I think this rule should stay within an amount of trucks, as maybe in a dozen of trucks the expense would not be as much of a economical affect, as to, a small company like mine.

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