When it comes to protecting the safety of truck drivers and those near them on the road, ensuring that they’re receiving an adequate amount of rest is important. In the past, we’ve reported on the federal regulations that truck drivers must follow and protect the safety of everyone on the road. We’ve also reported about hours of service abuse and how they make trucking a more dangerous and unfair profession for drivers. Now, it will be harder to fabricate driving times because more trucks will have electronic logging devices (ELD) in 2020. This change is happening because of the closing of a legal loophole that exempted certain trucks from being required to have an ELD.
Information About the New ELD Rule
A mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required more carriers and drivers to switch to electronic logging devices (ELD) by December 16, 2019. Currently, the FMCSA says that, “drivers are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours."
Drivers used to use paper-and-pen logbooks to record their hours of operation. These analog records were easy to fabricate and some drivers would drive for longer than allowed to maximize their driving distance. Electronic logging devices are designed to stop hours of service logs from being simple to fabricate.
Trucks with the following characteristics are required to follow the new ELD rule:
- A weight of 10,0001 pounds or more (with or without a load)
- Trucks that transport hazardous materials that require placards
While this new actually rule took effect on December 18, 2017, trucks with automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD) had a two-year exception for compliance. While they are very similar to ELDs, AOBRDs do not meet all the guidelines required by the FMCSA.
Does This Rule Make Roads Safer?
According to Jeremy Kirkpatrick from American Trucking Associations, hours-of-service violations have decreased by half since the first phase of the rule was implemented in December of 2017. Kirkpatrick also points out that the FMCSA found that carriers that used ELD systems had an 11.7 percent decrease in crashes.
"The study revealed that, compared to outdated pen-and-paper methods of tracking driver hours, this modern-day technology is more accurate, easier to enforce, more difficult to falsify and will ultimately save lives," Kirkpatrick said.
Federal agencies are hoping that requiring ELD technology in even more trucks will reduce the number of accidents on the road. Trucks carry 71.4 percent of the nation’s freight and safer driving means more deliveries and less fatal accidents.