Legislation Requires Electronic Logging Devices Replace Paper Logbooks
Drivers and carriers will be spending much of the new year accommodating the new Electronic Logging Device rules that are slated to take effect on December 18th, 2017. Announced earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ELD’s will take the place of the paper logbooks to maintain driver “records of duty status” that have been in use since the 1930s to record on-duty and off-duty time.
Affecting approximately 3 million truck drivers, the devices will be mandatory for operators of trucks that are 2000-model-year or newer and will not affect any local or tow-away drivers who don’t currently use logbooks.
The new legislation has prompted mixed results. Many drivers welcome the electronic logging devices because they create automation and mean fewer headaches over paperwork. Additionally, the FMCSA has estimated that the logging devices will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. The FMCSA also claims that ELD’s will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries by preventing crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles on an annual basis.
However, many drivers feel that the devices will infringe on privacy rights and the ability to make driver judgment calls. A driver who isn’t on board with the legislation commented, “All elogs(ELD’s) do is put every driver on a minute by minute stopwatch. So, you’re on the clock [and] you park in fuel island, in fire lane etc. You can’t take time to park, then you speed thru truckstop, work zones, school zones to get there a minute faster. I drive responsibly[.] If that means I don’t get quite as far, so what? I do not need a stopwatch to tell me how to drive!”
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also filed a petition to rehear its case opposing a federal regulation mandating the use of electronic logging devices. OOIDA claims that the mandate violates the 4th Amendment of the US constitution and opens the door for the harassment of independent drivers.
The mandate also states that smartphones and wireless devices may be utilized as ELDs as long as technical specifications and certifications are met. This provision will help drivers cut down on cost and increase ease of compliance which will assist drivers in coming into code.
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