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FMCSA Releases Final Rule on ELD Use by Interstate Drivers

The FMCSA has released its final rule mandating the use of ELDs by interstate drivers of commercial motor vehicles who currently use a driver's record of duty status (driver's log) to record their hours of service. 

The rule requires carriers to install FMCSA-registered and certified ELDs on their commercial motor vehicles within two years of the publication of the final rule. Publication is expected as soon as next week. Carriers who currently use automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) will have four years to move to the ELDs. 

Device Standards

The devices will have to meet specific standards, including being connected ("integrally synchronized") to the engine of the vehicle so that driving time can be automatically recorded. By definition, engine synchronization means the ELD must be able to directly monitor the vehicle's engine oepration to automatically capture engine power status (on or off), vehicle motion, miles driven and engine hours. Also, the devices must automatically capture date and time, vehicle position and vehicle operational parameters. GPS derived data will not be sufficient as the ELD must be able to monitor engine operation to automatically capture required data. A GPS is not integrally synchronized with a vehicle's engine, and cannot be a substitute for required ECM data to comply with the ELD rule. 

All FMCSA-registered and certified ELDs will be listed on the FMCSA's website: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/devices. The agency expects to have the website available by early February. 


The final rule includes exceptions to the ELD requirement for short-haul drivers, drivers involved in driveaway-towaway operations, and vehicles manufactured before model year 2000. Additionally, drivers who now do not have to keep logs will not have to move to ELDs.

Drivers involved in driveaway-towaway operations when the vehicle being driven is part of the shipment, and drivers of vehicles that were manufactured before model year 2000 are required to continue using paper records of duty status. 

Other Mandates

The final rule also addresses supporting documents and driver harassment. The ELD rule prevents the use of ELDs to harass drivers by developing a process for complaints, mandating a mute function to ensure uninterrupted sleeper berth time, and limiting edit ability for both drivers and carriers. 

An underlying violation of the HOS rules must be found in order to find a harassment violation. The supporting document portion of the final rule specifies five categories of documents, which are generated or received in the normal course of business that must be maintained by the driver and motor carrier. It also identifies four data elements that a document must contain to qualify as a supporting document. The supporting document provisions will go into effect two years after the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register

More details can be found at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices.


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