With just five months to a Dec. 18 federal mandate that requires truckers to adopt electronic logging devices to track how much time they spend driving their vehicles, drivers and others are starting to ask how the program will be enforced.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which is expected to provide training for roadside inspectors, said it has not received instructions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on how to enforce the regulation.

“It is likely that the information will be given to the states, who will then be responsible for training their inspectors. But the details have not been finalized at this point,” said Adrienne Gildea, deputy executive director for CVSA.

There are roughly 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. While many of the large motor carriers are already complying with the mandate, some smaller carriers and independent truckers have yet to make the switch from paper to e-logs.

“We’ve not seen any indication from law enforcement that they are ready,” said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which counts more than 150,000 drivers as members.

Taylor said truckers are already asking the trade group how the ELD mandate will be enforced but that the organization doesn’t have any information to pass along.

However, the program and enforcement training for roadside personnel “is precisely on track,” said Duane DeBruyne, spokesman for the FMCSA.

“The training will commence in the fall,” DeBruyne told Trucks.com. “The training materials will simultaneously be posted online.”

The training will consist of a train-the-trainer format in which some safety officials will be trained and then will be responsible for training other inspectors in the field, the FMCSA said.

The rule states that carriers and drivers who are using paper logs must transition to ELDs no later than Dec. 18, while truckers using Automatic On-Board Recording Devices, or AOBRDS, prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than Dec. 16, 2019.

The FMSCA is facing increasing criticism for letting issues lag. Last week, the Government Accountability Office — the watchdog agency of Congress — criticized the safety agency for failing to modernize its information technology systems.

The GAO, for example, said the governance boards tasked with overseeing the FMCSA’s information technology systems don’t exhibit “a sound governance approach, such as ensuring corrective actions are executed and tracked to closure.”

Such issues are mounting while the safety agency operates without an administrator, a position that has been left unfilled by the Trump administration.

truck driver bending down with electronic logging device

Trucker using an electronic log outside of the cab. (Photo: PeopleNet)

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 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 federal agency.

Prior to the mandate going into effect, the FMCSA is hosting an ELD Implementation National Tour, which is a public education and outreach effort geared toward helping truckers transition to electronic logging devices.

Many truckers are still on the fence about purchasing an ELD even though the U.S. Supreme Court decided last month not to hear a challenge to the mandate by the OOIDA.

“A lot of members have not decided yet to buy a device because they are unsure of which one to get,” Taylor said.

There are now more than 83 different ELDs on the market, up from 15 at the end of 2016.  Regardless of who make the device, all will conform to a standard inspection protocol, DeBruyne.

Prices vary depending on the type of device truckers want in their cabs, but generally run $500 to $700.

“Service fees are all over the board, but for basic E-log compliance I’ve seen monthly service fees range from $7.95 per driver per month, to $20 per driver per month.  Some vendors include the hardware at no extra charge, some do not,” Reader said.

ELD vendors are still guessing as to what the volume is going to be like in November or December and whether they will need to ramp up production or scale down based on demand, said Tom Reader, director of ELD marketing for J.J. Keller, a trucking regulation compliance consulting firm.

Approximately 50 percent of small carriers with less than five trucks and independent truckers are expected to wait until the mandate takes effect before complying with the final rule, Reader said.

“There is really no time now to look at and test various ELD options because it takes a few months to work through a vender and understand how the system works,” Reader told Trucks.com.

“Some drivers say they are expecting weak enforcement with the implementation of ELDs, but FMCSA has been rigid on the date,” he said.

Truck driver James Maxwell of Chillicothe, Mo., said he has used e-logs for more than a year. Maxwell plans to leave long-haul trucking and find a local job that doesn’t require him to run electronic logs.

His earning fell from $67,000 annually to $50,000 following his adoption of the electronic logs.

“I have been in this industry for nearly 25 years and I find myself working more days on the road for less money. We need a little more flexibility,” Maxwell told Trucks.com. “ELDs force me to miss appointment times because I run out of hours, then my next day’s appointments are messed up as well.”

Related: Truckers Grapple with Switch to Electronic Logs

About The Author

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa Hawes is a Trucks.com staff writer who covers trucking and freight. She is an award-winning journalist with over 10 years of experience covering the trucking industry. She can be found on Twitter: @cage_writer.

8 Responses

  1. Virlis Turner

    Why not make this easy for everyone just go back to the 10 hour drive time 8 hour sleeper time keep the 30 minute break do away with the 14 and keep it electronic life will be so much easier.

    Reply
  2. Robert Woods

    Problem is the regulating the drivers and let the company’s run pirate ships and do the drivers dirty and make all the money and leave the drivers out there hanging when something happens it’s not right that the drivers have to work while the slave drivers pushing them and then results are if you don’t you don’t have a job you lose your money somebody needs to look at the enforcement of the trucking companies and start mandating they follow the rules first elogs don’t help man still has to make money still has to make a living while the owners are making all the money and big living have fun

    Reply
  3. Armando Arce

    This will bankrupt the industry a large number of drivers will leave this industry u will see the accidents go up with no experienced drivers on the road

    Reply
  4. David Sprecker

    What I am hearing from the comments are that many a company are allowing their drivers to cheat. As a former law enforcement officer, cross country truck driver and retired FMCSA Safety Investigator, I believe in these rules. I also believe drivers should be paid a decent wage. Shippers need to pay more. Perhaps these electronic logs will finally force shippers to pay rather than the driver sudizing cheap rates.

    Reply
    • Adolphus R Green

      You just don’t get it… how in the hell can the government dictate how much an individual can work…why would you have us sitting more than we can drive…we didn’t become truck drivers to sit in unknown places…we like to deliver then get home…it’s not so much that the rates are low…it’s the fact that we will only get to work 7 out of every 14 days because persons working in the shipping and receiving facilities are non regulated hourly employees that milk the clock…they don’t care how long we sit there…85% of all accidents involving cars and big rigs are the cars fault…the government is about to make a lot of people leave to other industries and even the mega companies won’t have the man power to cover all the loads. Regulate the miles driven a day… this e log movement is to keep fatigued drivers off the road…but not one person making these rules have ever driven a truck or been at a truck stop. They act like we don’t have to stop to use the restroom or shower or eat or send money home or go grocery shopping or get an oil change… every day all humans have to do the same basic things…so now you guys are going to have impatient drivers in 80,000 pound vehicles going down the highway racing a clock… how idiotic is that…why is it ok for a pilot to fly 14hrs a day but I can’t drive more than 11…a interstate truck driver is required by federal law to sit at a truck stop 80hrs a week… that’s 10 more hours than we are allowed to work in a week… how does this make sense… unless we are going to get paid for all our time away from our families then this is not going to work… we’re going to be making less than 2 dollars an hour

      Reply
  5. Peter Wildharber

    Regulating drivers, they should focus more on the companies shipping and recieving product.
    They give appointment times to ship and recieve their products.
    These drivers can be waiting for hours at the shipper and destinations for hours.
    They overloaded trucks who have to come back to reload.
    They have to wait again.
    This is all time which would be recorded.
    The owner operator’s, shall have to pay for these bogus lumper services…

    Reply
  6. VICKI

    I THINK THEY NEED TO DO AWAY WITH THE E LOGS BECAUSE THE DRIVERS LOSE TIME AND APPS . WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DRIVER RUNS OUT OF TIME AND SHUTS DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSTATE, THEY SIT IN TRAFFIC SO THAT CUTS THEIR DRIVING TIME SO NOW WHAT?????

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.