Senate DOT appropriations bill would set e-log, CSA safety fitness determination deadlines

James Jaillet & Kevin Jones | June 09, 2014

The Senate’s version of the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation contains language that would prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from dragging its feet in producing a final electronic logging device mandate rule and proposing its long-planned Safety Fitness Determination rule under the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. 

FMCSA has continued to push back its own schedule for releasing the SFD

The Senate’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill gives the agency $592.3 million in funding for the 2015 fiscal year and came out of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee Thursday, when an amendment was added to suspend the 2013 hours-of-service rule for at least a year until more study can be done to justify its restart provisions.


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If passed, the bill would require FMCSA to publish a final ELD rule by Jan. 30, 2015. The current highway funding bill, MAP-21, required the agency to produce a proposed rule by Sept. 30 of 2013, but the agency didn’t publish the proposal until March of this year.

The public comment period on the rule ends June 26, after which the agency will begin work on a final rule, taking into account feedback gathered during the 90-day comment period. 

The agency usually produces a final rule within a few months of the end of public comment periods on proposed rules, and the Jan. 30 deadline would give the agency seven months to publish its final ELD rule.

Though the bill’s language wouldn’t seem to set an unrealistic target, the FMCSA has missed — substantially — several self-set timeframes on its calendar.


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Citing “excessive” delays on a CSA-based Safety Fitness Determination rule, the bill also would require FMCSA to initiate a rulemaking “no later than December 2014.”

The SFD rule is the agency’s next step in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The rule would allow the agency to use a similar data set it uses in CSA’s Safety Measurement System rankings to produce an actual fitness score for carriers. It could then use the scores to target carriers for intervention. 


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The THUD bill text calls the SFD rule “the cornerstone of CSA,” adding that until the rule is implemented, “FMCSA continues to rely on a rating and enforcement system that fails to place sufficient emphasis on both driver and vehicle qualifications, thereby compromising safety on our nation’s highways.”

In its most recent monthly report on significant rulemakings, the DOT projected Dec. 17 as the publication date for the SFD rule, which was a delay from the prior month’s Sept. 16 projected date. Sept. 16, however, was also a delay from months prior: At points last year, the rule was projected to be published in May 2014.


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In another provision, the committee directs the DOT Office of Inspector General to conduct an audit of FMCSA’s mandatory compliance review process “to ensure motor carriers flagged for investigation are being investigated in a timely manner.” The “high risk carriers” report is due by April 2015 for the preceding fiscal year.

The House will convene this week to take up its version of the THUD bill.

Click here to read more on the Senate’s work on the bill last week, including the hours-of-service suspension amendment. –Kevin Jones and James Jaillet contributed to this report.

  • guest

    Walmart has the Elog….their “driver” just testified he was awake for 24 hours before he Crashed and Killed that comedian…what good is an ELOG???

  • quickphil

    The walmart wreck proves what a lot of us have been saying for years ! Only the driver can know when he is tried and should stop ! But with ELDs if it says you can run and don’t , they will find a way to get rid of you ! They will say it is for something else but , it would be for not running with available hours

  • aeo115

    I have the a eld and it is up to me if I drive or not everyone seems to forget that the 10 hrs rule is a minimum. If a person needs more time off it should be taken. Remember elds are just tools to help follow the hos.

  • Jack

    What about us people that don’t abuse the law. I’m a independent owner with 1 truck and trailer. The day that Elog comes out bye bye I’m out of trucking. I feel as if with the Elog your in more of a hurry and less time to rest less time to stop for breaks. It pissing me off when I hear these things happening people trucking for 24 hours because I know it hurts me too. I’m worked hard for everything I got and I feel as if I’m force to put Elog I’m going to lose it all because I will be out of trucking oh well I’m getting to point where I’m sick of all this crap anyways away from family all for this crap!!

  • polack

    ELDS Are a tool for companies to push drivers period and not get hassles with dot cause he’s got a machine must be legal. Ya right. This Walmart accident proves that. Also proves you can make all the rules in the world and accidents will still happen. Take more time my ass. More like driver number whatever get your ass moving. Maybe a O/O could take extra time but they could under paper logs and even do math on paper. Only machine I may need for hrs is a calculator. I haven’t needed to be told when to sleep or take a nap since I’m 6 yrs old. Holy shit batman. I prefer to think for myself though. Three rules are getting WAY out of control. You steering wheel holders are one step away from robots. IMO.

  • Joaquin

    I’m in the same boat as you man.

  • Maddbman

    There is not enough rest areas or truckstops or even parking places period to accomindate all the trucks now… Where will we all go???

  • twant

    Let’s look at it like this. If the gov is involed with trucking and making rules its some money to be made for them some kind of way. They say this will make trucking safer. I hate that the accident happened with the walmart driver but sometimes something bad has to happen for something good to happe
    n. It will let this gov see it don’t matter about elogs. Fatique is fatique. Non of thepeople making these rules have even driven a truck. They say it makes trucking safer but if they make o/os ge elogs 50% of good drivers are gonna walk away from trucking. That’s a lot of exsperence walking away from trucking. And then your gonna replace them with drivers fresh out of driving school. And they think that’s safer? Or does that help all the bigger trucking companies an the gov. Bigger trucking companies will take trucking over an the o/os an smaller companies won’t make it. White HOuse stay out of thi

  • bigred

    Whaaat, Walmart had E-logs and that driver wrecked. My word, I thought those logs would make everyone safe out here.

  • Greg Haymon

    I agree with everbody else on ELD! If our government gave a crap fix the fuel surcharge to where we could run and make money instead of the national average crap, pay us for dentention layover etc. And quit added a rule a day and train the rookies better then they could take take their computor annalysis and shove it we would all b just fine….

  • Dave

    The Wal-Mart driver says he hadn’t slept in the previous 24 hours, but it didn’t what he was doing ? Was he driving or was he on his own time ?

  • lastgoodusername

    BRING IT ON BABY . elogs , no more special rules for propane haulers, and bull racks.CARB for everyone, raise the insurance min. thru the damn roof. cameras in the cabs, and every other stupid ass idea that Queen Anne and her puppet masters can think up. Then lets see what happens.

  • skateboarder

    You have the same 14hr day on elog as you do on paper. That means you would have the same start and stop times to your day. So what flexibility are you loosing? The flexibility to rip the page out and start over if you don’t like how your day is going? Isn’t that falsifying a federal document? If you are cheating your logs what else are you falsifying? Your vir? These rules are coming into place because people cheat. Sad but true. Maybe we can hope if everyone is on eld and running a legal 11/14/10 maybe we won’t need the 70hr rule anymore and we can get rid of the restart provision all together.

  • Dragleg

    With E-logs how was the Walmart driver running for 24 hrs. I don know for sur but I’m thinking he may have been a contractor with Great Wide pulling Walmart trailer.

  • shackman

    No he wasn’t a great wide driver he was a Wal mart driver an he had been off on his 34 an he hasn’t slept within da 24 hrs

  • RIN

    Look at what e Logs have done to the Walmart driver1 now up for manslaughter A bunch of dumb a… I see e log drives. Flying through work zones at least 10 times a day also speeding through the cities just trying to make time because of e Logs They are nothing but a time bomb waiting to go off

  • Mind Games

    The driver for Wal-Mart said the media lied on him he did not say he was awake for 24 hours and so although he’s going to jail he’s going in rich once he finds out who said that.

  • FoxStar

    Blaming elogs in this manner is like saying guns are making people murderers.

    The entity causing the incompetence is the one using these objects (the humans), not the objects themselves.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    Using your own logic, would you therefore agree that Elogs are no more effective than any other method in keeping unsafe drivers from doing unsafe acts?

  • safe hardworking

    You cant always control traffic, breakdowns, your body rest times, fueling for 2 hrs, and much more. Is why drivers do it. If you drove truck for least few years especially on I 95 up and down then you would of known. From what you wrote I can tell you are not a truck driver. This world is not perfect. If there would be enough parking for trucks based on log book laws, fuel stations, truck stops, repair facilities, flexible shippers/receivers hours then this would of been all possible but as of now its sounded very stupid. If you don’t have extra hour to unload then you might get stuck for 4 days by wall mart receiver if you scheduled right before holidays. And DOT will not compensate you for this down time neigher the receiver or your bank truck loan. If your time is up because shipper/receiver took longer to load/unload and you still in door while your log is telling you to sleep what you gotta do? ?? Call tow truck??? ONLY ON ROAD TRUCK DRIVER CAN GET THIS. Try to find truck parking on i80 in between hours of 8pm and 11pm? I wanna see you do that. Repair facilities at times has 8 to 10 hours waiting line and by a law you have to log this on duty because you are on standing by and waiting. So stop being so perfect and if you are not in a long haul then just don’t say anything if you don’t know what to say. In an average based on 2008 statistics every truck on an average pays $14.500 a year just in road taxes not including personal, business or tire fet’s or trucks fet’s when bought new. How much more will we get charged? Where is this money all goes to? Sex change operations? Or??????? Start thinking with your upper head and try to tell difference between real safety and money making.

  • FoxStar

    Yes I’d agree they aren’t safer. I try to be careful, when supporting elog, to not state they are safer paper logs. I don’t support a mandate either, but if one should exist, it should be slowly phased in on new drivers. Also with flexible hours for early adoters.

    They do force the driver to manage their time better, but chances are, if they’re driving tired with paper, they’ll mostly likely keep do so with electronics.

    Also drivers that drive tired and illegal allow themselves to be told to drive as such. That guy who’s rushing with elogs chooses to be slave driven into unsafe actions. It’s our responsibility to say no to impossible dispatches.

    It doesn’t matter what hours the logs say, I move when it’s safe for ME.

    Nobody should work for a company who does force them to do unsafe things. That 50¢/mile+ just isn’t worth it.

  • Judy Keith

    A MEN !

  • Judy Keith

    And who do you drive for? Santa ?

  • Judy Keith

    He was at a shipper waiting from 8am till 9pm!!!!!!

  • Cumminsapart

    45 minutes from home and sit for 34 hours possibly? Please explain the sense to that. Those that drive a desk don’t give a damn, I know when I’m tired. Sorry brothers, my day is done, truck and skateboard will be driven off by new owner in two days. I am now tired, the new breed of driver can take over. Goodbye.

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  • Jim

    If the trucking industry needs a fitness rule. What about our police departments and the fat asses that ride around in the police cars passing out tickets like judge dred?

  • Jim

    Fox star, you must be a swift drive an idiot!!!!

  • Chris Harkins

    the whole problem
    comes in with the MANDATE. If someone wants to use them and pay for them then good for them. Me on the otherhand don’t want them therefore should not have to pay for them. I don’t want or need the added expenses. I have never had a fine from the DOT since starting up my company 11 years ago or even in the 20 years previous to that as a company driver or owner operator. ELOGs are nothing more than another fee to pay to these companies who send their lobbyists to DC to buy politicians. The big companies love them because they can absorb the costs and drive out the smaller competing companies PERIOD! It has nothing to do with safety just money!

  • guest

    Sure…these Mega Money Fleets have lobbyists in Washington and Help to WRITE these new rules like ELOGS if it benefits their Position…the love Elogs….and More rules…that help drive out Competition.

  • guest

    elog is pathetic…these companies dont WANT you to take any 10 hour break to begin with….when that stupid 10 is done on ELOG you damn surebetter be available to run hard……..they will make you quit with crappy loads or make you sit till you quit….if you start talking about needing more sleep.

  • guest

    elogs will force you to stop for 10 hours…at some rediculous place like where Jason stopped (Jasons Law) and was shot to death…. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.