In March 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) by truckers who currently use paper to record duty status. The rule recently cleared its final hurdle, putting it on track for a November 30 publication date.

While the timeline may seem quick, the ELD mandate has been in the works under different forms for five years. Here is a look at the process that has led to the current regulation.

Original ELD mandate

The first attempt at regulation came in 2010, when the FMCSA instituted a rule requiring the use of ELD. It lasted only until the following year when a federal court ordered the entire rule to be vacated. At issue, there were concerns that ELD was being used to harass drivers through messages urging violation of federal safety regulations.

ELD mandate is reintroduced

On March 12, the FMCSA announced a proposed new rule with stronger language addressing the concerns that sank the 2010 regulations. After missing earlier publication dates of September 30 and October 30, the new regulation was cleared by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in mid-November. It is now expected to be published in the Federal Register on November 30.

What is in the ELD mandate?

  • The rule now includes provisions aimed at preventing ELD from being used to message off-duty drivers or otherwise pressure drivers to break federal safety regulations.
  • ELD in the new mandate is more sophisticated than those called for in the 2010 rule. They must be integrated with the truck engines as well as tamper-proof, although they can include manual notations to further explain or correct the records.
  • The final rule goes into effect two years after publication, providing carriers and owner-operators with time to implement new hardware and systems. If the November 30 date holds, that would mean an effective date in late 2016.

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