The trucking industry has a little more than a year to get ready for a massive transformation – dumping the paper logs that drivers use to document adherence to federal regulations on how many hours they are on the road in exchange for foolproof electronic logging devices.

Equipping roughly 500,000 U.S. trucking firms with these so-called electronic logging devices, or ELDs, looks to be about a $1-billion business, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates. The mandate will affect more than 3 million truck drivers in the U.S., according to the American Trucking Associations.

Already, 15 companies have registered devices with the FMCSA, a mandatory requirement in advance of the regulation that goes into effect a year from Dec. 18. Device manufacturers must certify that their ELDs adhere to more than 126 pages of technical specifications. Several more companies are expected to enter the market in the next year.

The FMCSA has pushed for electronic logging to prevent driver cheating on paper logs. The devices link to a semi-truck’s engine, capturing the movement of the truck and recording how much time a trucker is at the wheel. By law, drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving daily.

The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries and save 26 lives annually by keeping exhausted drivers off the road. Switching to electronic logs also is expected to eliminate more than $1.6 billion in paperwork costs for motor carriers and law enforcement agencies reviewing drivers’ logs, according to the FMCSA.

Already large carriers such as UPS, FedEx and Werner Enterprises are using electronic systems to record truckers’ driving time and behavior. The American Trucking Associations, which counts many large carriers among its members, has supported the federal mandate.

“We look forward to its implementation,” the trade group told Trucks.com.

But the regulation has encountered fierce resistance from independent drivers who believe the devices will be intrusive.

“I will not be electronically monitored and tracked by my government,” veteran trucker DuWayne Marshall of Watertown, Wis., told Trucks.com.

Barring some unanticipated policy reversal, Marshall said he will retire a day before the mandate goes into effect.

But others are ready to comply with the regulation.

Ronnie Sellers of Knoxville, Tenn., who owns a three-truck operation, said he has been running e-logs since 2011.

“I would not run paper logs, and I just don't see what the big deal is,” Sellers told Trucks.com. “Anyone who complains about e-logs is basically admitting they are going to run illegally.”

A last-ditch effort to block the ELD rule by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a trade group that represents more than 150,000 small-business truckers, failed last month when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rejected the owner-operator group’s arguments that ELDs would violate truck drivers’ privacy and foster carrier harassment over driving hours.

The organization is assessing whether it will appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed and strongly disagree with the court’s ruling,” said Jim Johnston, the group’s chief executive. “Because this issue is of vital importance to our members and all small-business truckers, we are reviewing our next steps to continue our challenge against this regulation.”

Still, they might get at least a temporary reprieve.

“If electronic logging device implementation gets sticky because of the FMCSA’s slowness in publishing complete technical standards, the [Trump] administration is much more likely to postpone the December 2017 deadline,” said Noël Perry, a transportation economist at FTR, an industry research firm.

In the meantime, the trucking industry will need the next year to implement the mandate.

“We are kind of in this interim where things are kind of a mess because FMCSA hasn’t produced a software program to accept the files and they haven’t found a way to test the files,” Annette Sandberg, the agency’s former deputy administrator, told Trucks.com.

Additionally, large ELD providers – including PeopleNet, Omnitracs and EROAD, which some motor carriers are already using –  haven’t yet registered their products with the FMCSA.

Eroad Electronic Logging Device

EROAD Electronic Logging Device. (Photo: EROAD)

There has been some fear among ELD providers to “rush to register their products with FMCSA too quickly,” said Gail Levario, EROADS’ vice president of strategy and market development.

Providers are still evaluating their own internal testing framework to make sure their procedures are “rock solid and meet the self-certification requirements,” Levario said.

How quickly law enforcement will be trained on how to read and transfer data using the new electronic logging devices is another concern.

Collin Mooney, executive director for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, said his agency is in the process of “ramping up and coordinating with ELD vendors for the training of law enforcement officials.”

About 4 million commercial vehicle inspections are conducted every year throughout North America, according to the CVSA.

“Most recently, we invited a number of ELD vendors to start educating enforcement, not only law enforcement, but other government personnel and the industry on the specific devices,” Mooney told Trucks.com. “We have started filming small demonstration snippets from each of the vendors, and we are in the process of putting together a video on how to navigate each individual device for training purposes.”

The safety alliance is working to get law enforcement up to speed before the rule kicks in next year.

Some motor carriers that haven’t switched over to e-logs are waiting to see which providers will have devices that meet FMCSA’s technical specifications in the coming months. The cost of the devices is also a concern for some who are weighing their options.

Electronic logging devices can range from $165 to $832, with one of the more popular devices priced around $495 per truck, according to Eldfacts.com.

As with any new product, Sandberg said carriers must be wary and do their due diligence in selecting an ELD provider.

“I wouldn’t encourage motor carriers to go with the cheapest one, because sometimes you get what you pay for, but maybe the most expensive one isn’t the best option either,” she said.

Longtime owner-operator Tim Philmon of Middleburg, Fla., said he is going to give electronic logs a shot and see how it fits in his trucking operation before making any rash decisions.

“I’ve always said that the only regulation that could potentially change the face of the transportation industry is when the federal government numbers the pages of our logbooks,” Philmon told Trucks.com.

The switch to e-logs didn’t fare well for one Arkansas-based motor carrier that implemented a mandatory switchover from paper logs for its owner-operators back in 2010, years ahead of the upcoming mandate.

Fikes Truck Line of Hope, Ark., which had been in the trucking business for 74 years, was dealt a fatal blow when the company lost 40 percent of its owner-operators in the “blink of an eye,” according to Gary Salisbury, Fikes’ chairman.

Other small carriers are having trouble getting ELDs into their fleet. A recent survey for Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group asked trucking companies if they lost drivers “who did not want to operate under ELDs” – 51.4 percent reported that they did lose drivers, 48.6 percent said none of their drivers left.

One carrier who responded to the survey said that it had a fleet of 110 trucks and “lost 29 drivers when (they) switched them over to e-logs. They either quit the day we put it in their truck or within two weeks.”

34 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    It’s time for all the drivers to park it ..30 years of driving are about to come to an end November 2017 if this goes into affect

    Reply
  2. Michael Page

    Do the math!!! This will not decrease accidents in the United States. I hope I’m wrong.

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  3. Pete

    E logs do not help stop drivers from driving tired. They actually encourage drowsy driving. If you have hours available it’s either use them or lose them. They also encourage speeding and other unsafe activities. You have 11 hours to go as many miles as you can. At least with paper logs you could take a relaxed 13 hour drive and show you did it in 11.

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    • ARMANDO ARCE

      That’s my point exactly they are gonna make us drive tired and then we’re are we all gonna Park if we all end the day at same time makes no sence it will be anarchy

      Reply
      • Willie

        You did that your self no one can put your life in danger by making u unsafe you do that

  4. Noel Eichbaum

    The experience in New Zealand, where Eroad is the leader in RUC and data collection, is that it does encourage better driver behaviour and in fact is embraced by drivers, who often the target of unfair criticism in accidents. The monitoring of drivers and analysis of behaviour does as much to protect the drivers as anything else. Companies can not put pressure on drivers to exceed driving time limits or speed limits to meet deadlines. Drivers who embrace this are generally rewarded better as the employer companies’ reputations are enhanced and their insurance premiums are lower.

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    • Rocky 'Centerline Cowboy' Rogers

      Dear Noel, appreciate your comments, but in the US of A, dispatchers have the option, built in, of “adjusting” hours, and they do. Check it out under Google. Adjusting or fudging logs is in direct response to the greed of the industry, to not pay a driver for all hours on the job, increases the bank deposit each week………….but only for the trucking companies and the shippers and receivers who benefit from the free labor of us all. A large grocer in WI, Gateway Foods, paid their drivers both mileage and loading and unloading pay………….over 25 years ago, and they were hugely prosperous. So what do us Northerners know that the rest of the country doesn’t…………or doesn’t WANT to know. Eh?

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    • Jodie Dunn

      “Driver’s will NOT embrace this”….I beg to differ. Are you even in the trucking industry??

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    • Stanley BRODKA

      you said New Zealand this is USA different kind of ANIMAL.

      Reply
  5. Brian

    I was recently told by A DOT officer that I was a dishonest truck driver. When I asked him why, he said because I was still running paper logs. I told him I may be a dishonest truck driver but at least I am and alert dishonest truck driver. E-logs are not necessarily the problem. The problem is the hours of service. The 14-hour clock forces drivers to drive tired. Watching that clock and knowing that you have to get so many miles driven that day causes anxiety. Anytime there is anxiety there are mistakes. If you took an accountant doing your taxes, stood over his shoulder and told him he had to have it done in 15 minutes your taxes would have mistakes. You do this to a truck driver who’s rolling down the road at 80,000 pounds now you have a deadly mistakes. Since some companies have gone to elog I have seen this anxiety firsthand. Drivers are pulling out in front of people they are running red lights they are driving up the shoulder in traffic jams to get around people. I have seen all of this. I have also seen far more wrecks on perfectly Sunny afternoons and as you drive by you see the little green sticker on the side of the truck that says (e-log). Why is there not been a study on how many e-log trucks are getting in accidents now. As of right now I do not know how many e-log trucks are out there but I know that is it is nowhere near 3 million and already there are far more avoidable accidents happening than ever before. December 18th of 2017 when all 3 million trucks have to start running e-log…do the right thing, keep your family off the road it’s going to be a very unsafe place.

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  6. Jonathan m.Hicks

    Brian is right on the money with his comment ..
    This e- log thing is imposed and pushed on the trucking industry for one accomplishment only, mandate the ones of interest money..
    E- logs will not save any lives ,not lower insurance company s demand to pay on accidents.. E-logs will only increase accidents.. It will make Drivers nervous for two major things.. One ; less pay Coz it will take more time to do the same job.. Look at this.. Ok, Drive time is not the stress issue, don t make the Driver Drosey.. It door doc time and wait time, to get on doc to be loaded.. This is all wasted time .. This time stress drivers befor the Drive.. This is part of his 14 hour duty time waisted .. Broken in sections of the day
    .. He can t rest or sleep.. This is more and really the only stress a driver has before he hits the road.. The problems of getting loaded it the biggest stress..
    This is the part of the TRUCKING INDUSTRY that needs to be fixed and Drivers compensated. The three hours on Doc Door s is befor compensation is just not right..that to much time to be on a doc for any way ,that doesn’t even count for time waiting to get on Doc Door .. Or the wasted time from one drop shipment to pick up shipment.. There is very little Drive time used .. Only 14 hour time .. That renders times used in a day .. Stressing the Driver befor he gets in the Delivery Drive of his trip..
    E-logs is not any solution for the Truckers Safty Issues
    E-Logs will only increase Driver Stress , One more VISE to accomplish to Master the Professional Drivers Day

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  7. Wayne

    I do agree with Brian and Johnathon M. Hicks. If these law makers where to go with any driver to see what that driver and others are going though they need to spend time on the road. They have no clue of what they are doing. Statistics may show 1 side of the story. just not all sides. They need to pull their head out of their tail ends and do more at understanding the situations at hand. Not just the surveys that is handed to them. Same thing goes for a lot of dispatchers. They need to do the same. Also if a company does have e-logs. It is possible the company can easily change the e-log program for that vehicle. sometimes even easier for the company to falsify them records on the e-log device. At that rate what good is E-LOG. Us drivers are already getting harassed constantly by law enforcement even for no reason at all. Us drivers are tired of being harassed too much.

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  8. Clayton

    Only job I’ve ever had where I can’t put in a hard day’s work if I need too! Thanks fmcsa for making Americans lazy!!!! And let’s look at those stats again. I’d take my o/o with a paper log over a rushing elog driver anyday.

    Reply
    • Tony

      Yes ehat is going to heppen in rush hour many drivers pull over and weit to get on road back after the rush hour when E log book will start we have to drive as much as we can, it is a garbage sistem i fill bad because we know the truck not officials who makes rules and it is garbage sistem hope our new President dose stop it imediately. Thank you

      Reply
  9. Derek

    My name is Derek Cook. I use E-logs and hate them with a passion. The thing never stops yakking at you, draws your attention away from driving. They are a danger to drivers and the general public. Just because you set for 10hrs doesn’t mean your sleeping. Most of the time your wishing the 10hrs where over, so you can go. They are absolutely a foolish device that needs extinction.

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  10. Justin

    There not worried about us owners making a living it’s a money grabber for the law enforcement agencies I’m not working for a couple hundred dollars a week

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    • Ray

      I own 20 trucks we are going to run up to the mandate and we are selling out.15 drivers out of 20 said they are going to stay till the mandate and either retiring or going to drive local. All my drivers been driving 15 plus years.I would say that 75 percent don’t know where fmcsa is getting there percentage from.

      Reply
      • ARMANDO ARCE

        I honestly believe that we as truck drivers should not just lay down and except it .we run the fraight for this country we stop for two weeks we could have what ever we want we own the road we are truckers American truckers at that this law is BS and we all know it its time we stood up and told our president that this law is gonna kill hundreds if not thousands of jobs in this country. If we don’t speak God can’t hear us we must get a hold of department of transportation and tell them that this law is unsafe it makes u drive when u are not ready to drive once ur say start it’s gogogogogogo and that’s whenough mistakes occur when lives are lost property is lost just cause I am hammer down trying to make my 715 for the day. This law will make me and my wife sell our truck and retire early

  11. joe

    this is NOT going to save lives and make anything safer..It is going to FORCE truckers to drive as hard as possible to get in the amount of time they have to drive in a given day, tired, sleepy, or sick, keep it moving and get as far as possible before you run out of hours to drive… this si something the government seems to like and not one of the ones that implimented it has ever been anywhere around a truck.

    Reply
  12. Tony

    Well what is going to hapen is that small companys will disapear togather with owner operators abd big company’s will take over the bussiness like they wanted to do long time a go that is why they invest to disappear small trucking industry, what is going to happen is we as small OT will get a driver job local so we will enjoy the family life the peapel are the consumers they will pay probebly duble their groceries or every thing because there will be no more owner operators aby nore who delivers for cheap price the freight will be double a lot of brokers will lose their jobs so that means also a lot of DOT guys will lose their jobs also because not much they can do any more so all 3 parties will be loseing ecept the invester ? Big company’s who like to not have competitions, so this is our DOT dose not thing they getting use by big company’s good locke all you 3 parties who are fiyting each ather to benefit big company’s.

    Reply
  13. MARK MILES

    Small operations have to work with a wider margin than the mega carriers. The current hours-of-service take away that wider margin. That is why the mega carriers are on board with the hours of service and being able to enforce them with electronic logs. It’s a move to force smaller companies out of business. This enables the mega carriers to control the market and the labor force. There is no doubt in my mind that the ATA and the FEDS are all getting money under the table from the mega carriers to get this done.

    Reply
    • Ed

      It’s the Feds, the Mega Carriers, and the Insurance companies. That and the CDL mills teaching drivers just enough to pass a road test SWIFT…want to be an O/O yep just sign here.
      I predict the roads will be more unsafe as the Professional Drivers call it. Wages are half what they used to be. Great for those Mega Companies, just hire more entry level drivers. That helps the bottom line.
      So why E-logs? MONEY.
      There isn’t a driver shortage yet, but there will be if the don’t pay more to keep experienced drivers on the road.
      Maybe those O/O that come off the the road should open places for all those trucks to park before the drivers run out of hours. Maybe except company fuel cards or something. Reserved parking is B/S.
      A diner would be great also. Enough fast food.
      Just my 2 cents

      Reply
  14. Barry

    One of the new requirements is that the ELD be integrally synchronized with the vehicle engine control module (ECM) to automatically capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, and engine hours. The previous requirement was that the AOBRD be “integrally synchronized” but did not define this term.

    Reply
  15. Patrick Sullivan

    The mega companies want to make it a even playing field let them pay 500.00 per for tires if you can’t afford to go on strike now you definitely won’t be able to when this comes into effect its not safety it’s only money that’s all this is owner operator for 27 years I will be selling my truck when this comes into effect

    Reply
  16. snoyl

    The hours of service have zero flexibility. So when I have a nine am delivery appointment and they do not get the truck unloaded until 1:15PM. The driver is screwed. Just had a call and about a load and they rejected the truck because he was going to be available one hour after what the wanted. Today I rejected a load offer because they said they do not pay detention. Good luck to all of the “just in time” inventory operations. On the bright side for those of us who are left the rates are bound to go way up.

    Reply
  17. Steve

    I can’t even find a unit that will work in my haul truck. Grant you I only Hot Shot now but no one will even talk to me because I don’t have 20 or 30 rigs. Then I need to be able to save these logs some how as I don’t have some one sitting at a computer to record them. I also do not want to add expense by paying a service monthly. That always gets botched. I have a son working for the railroad and has e-log on his service rig and said it is a nightmare. From not working to clocking out for lunch and not being able to move or you have to start break time over again. Will see if any changes happen by years end or 40 years of a cdl forget it.

    Reply
  18. Dave

    This will turn into a ticket for going 66 in a 65, or something similar. If the government can screw us out of money they will. I Suggest everybody parks it starting Dec. 17, implementation day. 35 Years trucking, time to retire.

    Reply
  19. BILL RUSS

    I’m a O/O and the company I’m leased to is going E-Logs.I have been checking the last couple of months and seen my average speed is a lot less than my GPS is showing. I show average speed of 5 miles less than posted. This week in a mostly 70 MPH drive my GPS showed my average sleep of 62MPH. I agree with most other drivers in that the new mandate is going to force driver to drive when they show take a nap. This ruling has been the the works for at least 20 years, with the big carriers using the rail and only what trucks for the trans from the rail to the customer, this is a LARGE money maker for the big companys but the small business and customers at the end will be the loser. Time for frieght is going to more than double if not triple.

    Reply
  20. Army Mom

    My husband is an O/O leased to a major company and I ride full time with him. He will be cancelling his lease, i.e., retiring, come 17 Dec 17 because of the ELD issue. It’s not about people running illegal paper logs, as some think, it’s another way to get MONEY out of our pockets. We are tired of working and giving OUR MONEY away. Stop and think about the money these ELD companies are going to make from the small 1 truck owner – totally outrageous!

    Reply
  21. Kevin

    I have tryed paperless logs.and they are great if you know where you are going.but most of dont.so that 11 hour rule goes to 10 hours just to make sure you can find a parking spot.we have states that dont allow us to park on the ramps……im going to laugh so hard when these know it all start pay more for everything.i can run legal but i will not drive in Rush hour traffic.and sitting at the docks for 4 and 5 hours what about that. At the end of the day.im getting tired of all the bullshit with trucking we are most taxed industry in USA .we have our own dedicated law enforcement….. …My Dad showed me gow to drive .and i have been doing it 24 years im tired of all Bull. I have been trying to put together a plan to.get out of trucking i think i will be one of the lucky ones.i feel sorry for the ones that can’t .

    Reply
  22. Larry

    What is the trucking industry going to do when they run out of experienced drivers. Yes hire more out of county people that have a hard time understanding what’s going on. I have over two million miles under my belt .It’s time to retire and stay off the highway. There will be more wrecks and death’s in the future.
    I drive a four state area delivering in the oilfields.Were on bad dirt roads, slowing driving where you can’t drive over 15 mph. You can’t plan anything but standby and meany more thing such as chaining up and unchaining, yes we get payed of all this.The elogs will stop me any where from 25 to 75 miles from home. Now what set there for ten hours. Where we will not be payed That’s not going to happen. (Hope all this make seance but I’m old and pissed.)
    WHY NOT GET PRESIDENT TRUMP IT SIGN ANOTHER BILL PUTTING OF E LOG’S OFF UNTIL IT CAN BE MORE MODIFIED. WE NEED HELP FROM SOME ONE WITH THE POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE AND POWER TO HAVE THIS DONE. ( HELP)

    Reply
  23. TIM

    HI TO EVERYONE! I WILL ADD MY 5 CENTS. LAST FRIDAY I GOT DELIVERY 10 A.M. I CAME TO THE COMPANY AT 9;20. THEY SAID THAT TWO TRUCKS MUST BE COMING BEFORE ME, BUT THEY DIDN’T BECAUSE THEY ARE HAVE ELOGS ON THE BOARDS, AND CAN NOT DRIVING. I SAID, IT MEAN THAT I LUCKY TODAY. FIRST TRUCK CAME AFTER 1 HOUR( HE HAS APPT FOR 8;00). THEN I GOT RELOAD, SAME DAY, GOT A LOAD AT 2;30 P.M., THEY OVERLOADED ME, WHEN I COME BACK FROM THE SCALE AFTER 30 MIN. THEY ARE CLOSED. I BRAKED THE SEAL, REMOVE BY HANDS FIRST PALLET ON THE BACK, FIXED WEIGHT WITH FIFTH WHEEL. AT THIS MOMENT ONE TRUCK ENTERING TO THE COMPANY FOR GET A LOAD. I TOLD HIM THAT THEY ARE CLOSED, HE WAS SHOCKED LIKE ME ONE HOUR AGO, AND HE SAID; F…… ELOG!!!! I CAN’T DRIVE, I CAN’T PICK A LOAD!!! BUT HE GOT 3 DAYS OFF DUTY BENEFIT!!! I GUESS I’M GOOD DRIVER 11 YEARS WITHOUT TICKETS AND OUT OF SERVICES, BUT I WILL STOP MY JOB

    Reply

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