Electronic Logging Brings an End to Paper Logs for Truckers

Truck Accidents

By Desiree Housek, Staff Writer

Professional truck drivers spend a significant number of long hours on the road, and many additional hours filling out various types of paperwork depending on what is needed. When paper logs are used, drivers must maintain their records for seven days, while the motor carrier company is required to keep the records for six months. Drivers have been upholding the use of paper logs as other avenues of preventing fraud while saving time and money have come and gone.

Fortunately with advances in technology, electronic logging devices (ELDs) have arrived and are putting an end to paper logs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA,) is now requiring all truck drivers to use the ELDs.

Electronic logging devices sync with a truck’s engine to capture power status, motion status, miles driven, and engine hours; similar to automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD.) Requirements for ELDs will include the following:

  • Automatic recording of date, time, location, vehicle miles, engine hours
  • Drivers identification information, authenticated user, vehicle, and motor
  • Electronic data transmission
  • Capability to display a standardized data set in a specified format on-screen or via a printout
  • Manual input ability of certain information
  • Capability to monitor and record device malfunctions and data inconsistencies.

The FMCSA believes that use of the devices will not only reduce the burden of paperwork and increase efficiency of law enforcement personnel who review the records, but that hopefully it keeps drivers within the hours of service laws. With paper logs, drivers were able to falsify their records to make more money, and often times the trucking companies push drivers beyond these limits.

Under the hours of service laws, drivers carrying cargo may only drive up to 14 consecutive hours, after 10 consecutive hours of rest, they are prohibited from exceeding 60 hours in a seven day period or more than 70 hours in eight days.

The FMCSA estimates that use of these devices will not only save nearly $1 billion annually, but that it will also save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries a year.

The new rule mandating ELDs will be enforced as of December 16, 2017, with the exception of those driving vehicles manufactured prior to 2000, tow truck drivers, those who use timecards to record hours, and drivers using paper RODS for 8 or less days in a 30 day period. Drivers who use AOBRDs that are in accordance with regulations may continue to do so through December 16, 2019.

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