The long awaited compliance deadline for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandate for electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial over-the-road trucks finally arrived on December 18, 2017. Now all motor carriers, with the exception of certain exempt vehicles, are no longer able to use written hours-of-service logs and software and must adhere to the times recorded on the ELDs that fit the compliance requirements set by the FMCSA. These ELDs, which are hard-wired into a truck’s engine, record each driver’s duty status as well as transmit vehicle information back to a fleet owner’s or freight broker’s monitoring system.
What will the ELD mandate mean to the trucking industry?
The ELD’s monitoring and recording of hours of service will be a problem for struggling motor carriers who were having to drive more than the regulated number of hours to stay profitable. While many industry insiders expect those carriers to close their doors due to the ELD mandate, the program does have some advantages.
- Safety. The government’s goal is improved safety on the road and the intention is to prevent driver fatigue, a contributing factor in many highway accidents involving large trucks. With electronic monitoring of a driver’s hours of service, drivers who stay behind the wheel too long will be caught and penalized.
- Saving time. Without spending hours every month logging locations and driving times on paper or laptops and submitting them, drivers can use that time for more rest and relaxation on long hauls.
- Saving money. The premise is that with electronic monitoring of fuel usage, tire condition, motor performance, the industry will see reductions in truck downtime and decreases in fuel costs.
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