Electronic logging devices (ELDs), or small computerized devices that monitor hours of service, location, and data on the duty status of commercial truck drivers, are set to become a mandatory safety precaution that will help to prevent truck accidents due to driver negligence and fatigue.
An ELD mandate that will require all truck drivers to have a device installed is set to go into effect in Dec. 2017 by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Under the mandate, commercial truck owners and operators will be required to install an ELD before April 2018, or they will risk being placed out of service. From now until April, truck drivers will have the option to continue the use of paper logs in compliance with hours of service requirements, but an ELD device must be installed and functional by April of next year.
Even though ELDs are meant to reduce the risk of accidents by ensuring that truck drivers are driving safely, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) recently submit an exemption request to federal regulation for small business truck drivers that have proven their ability to operate vehicles safely.
According to the OOIDA, small business truckers should not be subject to purchasing costly ELDs that may be uncertified by the FMCSA, especially if they have proven their ability to operate large commercial trucks safely.
The association has requested that small business truck drivers should be exempt from purchasing and using ELDs for at least five years, if the driver or business has a proven safety history, meaning that they have not experienced any at-fault accidents.
The request has come from concerns about ELDs. As tracking technology is new, the OOIDA has expressed concerns about purchasing devices that are non-compliant with the FMCSA, which currently does not enforce a validation process for ELD product manufacturers. Cyber-security concerns have been voiced as well, as insecure ELDs could result in hacked software that may compromise driver data and security.
Very few exemptions are being made from the ELD mandate, as the FMCSA is offering a grace period that will allow business owners and truck drivers to research, purchase, and install adequate logging devices.
Commercial truck drivers that are using an automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) will be given a two-year extension period, meaning that they will have until Dec. 2019 to purchase an ELD.
ELD exemptions are currently in place for agricultural haulers, who will be given a 90-day waiver that exempts them from using an ELD, continuing to log hours of service and duty status on paper.
During the 90-day period, the FMCSA will evaluate the exemption and provide additional guidelines for agricultural product transport vehicles.
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