FMCSA wants truckers’ feedback on ELD regulations

September 15, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it wants to improve the regulations regarding electronic logging devices.

To do so, the agency plans to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the mandated use of ELDs. The notice is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Friday, Sept. 16.

“FMCSA solicits public comment on ways to improve the clarity of current regulations on the use of electronic logging devices and address certain concerns about the technical specifications raised by industry stakeholders,” the notice states.

Specifically, the agency wants feedback in five aspects of the ELD regulation in which it is considering changes:

  1. Applicability to pre-2000 engines.
  2. Addressing ELD malfunctions.
  3. The process for removing an ELD from FMCSA’s list of certified devices.
  4. Technical specifications.
  5. ELD certification.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the notice.

The ELD mandate, which requires most truckers to use an electronic device to record his or her hours of service, took effect in 2017. The mandate was unpopular for many truck drivers, who contend that tracking the time to the second causes more stress for drivers and unsafe conditions. After the mandate took effect, many truck drivers reported seeing an increase in trucks speeding through parking lots to get stopped in time and trucks parking in unsafe locations because the driver was out of time.

Applicability to pre-2000 engines

The ELD mandate includes an exemption for trucks with pre-2000 engines. The agency wants to know if that exemption should be reviewed.

“Should FMCSA reevaluate or modify the applicability of the current ELD regulation for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines or glider kits?” the agency asked.

Addressing ELD malfunctions

The current regulation requires a driver to switch to paper logs when his or her ELD malfunctions. The driver is required to follow the motor carrier and ELD provider recommendations when a data diagnostic event is logged. Whenever an ELD fails to record the hours, the driver must have paper logs available for enforcement. If the ELD malfunctions but still records the time accurately, a driver should not switch to paper logs.

FMCSA wants feedback on whether it should amend carrier and driver responsibilities to clarify when a driver must switch to paper logs.

Removal process

As part of the mandate, companies were allowed to self-certify their ELDs. This has led to some confusion, and the agency wants feedback on the best way to remove a provider from the certified list.

FMCSA wants feedback on the following questions:

  • Should FMCSA require ELD providers to update their listing within 30 calendar days of any change to their registration information?
  • Should ELD providers be required to confirm their information on an annual basis?
  • Should an ELD provider’s ELD be removed from the FMCSA list if it fails to confirm or update its listing on an annual basis?

Technical specifications

The agency is considering adding the following data elements to every event.

  • Actual odometer
  • Actual engine hours
  • Location description
  • Geo-location
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Power unit
  • Shipping document number
  • Trailer number
  • Driver
  • Co-driver, if applicable

Which driver was operating the commercial vehicle at the time

FMCSA said recording this information would allow the technical specifications to be modified to eliminate the requirements of providing power-up and shut-down events from vehicles a driver has previously operated that are not associated with the requested driver’s data.

ELD certification

The agency wants input on whether or not the agency should establish a certification process for ELDs.

“If a certification process is established, how should existing devices be treated?” FMCSA wrote.

How to comment

Once the notice publishes in the Federal Register, the public will have two months to comment. To do so, go to the Regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0078. LL

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.