March 29, 2018, by Jack Roberts
Printing is one of several ways e-logs can be presented to enforcement officials during roadside inspections. Photo: Continental VDO
The long, divisive slog is over. As of April 1, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device mandate goes into full effect, requiring most commercial vehicles to have a compliant electronic logging device in the cab to track the driver’s hours of service.
There has been resistance to the regulation, especially among drivers and owner-operators, and the ramp up to full implementation has been slow and fractured. There also was some confusion among drivers, fleets, and even enforcement officials about some points of the rule.
So, since the rule went into effect in December, violators have not been subject to being placed out of service or having the violation affect their CSA scores. But starting April 1, any driver operating a commercial vehicle without a compliant ELD or Automatic Onboard Recording Device will be subject to the full weight of the law if caught.
To help make sure you’re ready, we pulled together some of the top things you need to know before Sunday…
The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a).
The rule allows limited exceptions, however, including:
Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODs and will not be required to use ELDs Drivers who use paper logs for not more than eight days out of every 30-day period Drivers operating a power unit that is part of a driveaway/towaway shipment Drivers who are driving or towing a recreational vehicle that is part of a driveaway/towaway shipment Drivers who are operating vehicles with an engine model year older than 2000.
In addition, there are some temporary exemptions that have been added since the rule originally went into effect, among them one for livestock haulers through the end of September, as well as one for short-term rental trucks until April 19, 2018. There’s also an eight-day exemption from the ELD mandate for rental trucks which runs for five years.
If you’re operating under any of these exemptions, make sure the driver understands and that there’s documentation in the truck related to the exemption, such as a copy of the exemption, proof that an engine is an older model not subject to the rule, etc.
In late August, FMCSA and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced a phased-in approach to the ELD mandate and said they would delay implementing out-of-service criteria related to ELDs until April 1, 2018 – although individual jurisdictions could still choose to issue citations. And just a month before last December’s deadline, FMCSA announced violations would not affect CSA scores during this transition period.
Some drivers believe that the hours of service rules have changed. They have not. But ELDs are pointing out non-compliance issues that drivers may not have been aware of.
For instance, once a driver comes back on duty after 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, that driver cannot drive beyond 14 consecutive hours, even if he or she had to spend several hours detained at a shipper or receiver’s facility. Under paper logs, many drivers reported shorter detention than they actually experienced.
The sleeper berth rule requires drivers to spend at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two. Some drivers mistakenly believe that they can take that eight