FMCSA issues final Electronic Logging Device Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued its final rule for electronic logging devices (ELDs).

An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. Motor carriers and drivers using paper logs must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017. Carriers and drivers who use automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.

The ELD rule:

  • Specifies who is covered by the rule and exceptions to it
  • Provides for ELDs to be certified, registered, and listed on a FMCSA website
  • Includes technical specifications to ensure ELDs are standardized and compliant
  • Includes a phased implementation timeline to give drivers and carriers time to comply
  • Includes provisions to help prevent data tampering and harassment of drivers
  • Creates standard data displays and data transfer processes

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a lawsuit over this new FMCSA regulation, which the organization says has the potential to have the single largest, most negative impact on the industry than anything else done by the agency. OOIDA has previously challenged a similar mandate in the courts. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit vacated a proposed electronic logbook rule based on the argument of harassment of drivers.

The Petition for Review that OOIDA has filed this time does not outline the arguments that will be used to challenge the final rule. Arguments will be provided in subsequent filings and during oral arguments in front of the court.

ARA had opposed a federal mandate of ELDs in 2012 during Congressional consideration of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act ("MAP-21"; P.L. 112-141) due to concerns related to costs, lack of available and standardized technology, unproven safety benefits and privacy issues.