Back on December 16, 2015 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration instituted a requirement wherein most common carriers and drivers that are required to maintain records of duty status must maintain electronic logs. This electronic logging rule also applies to commercial buses, trucks and Canada and Mexico domiciled drivers. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule including : 1) drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period; 2) drive-away-tow-away drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) of the vehicle being transported such as a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported); and 3) drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000. The regulation was to be laid out in three phases.

Phase One: The two year period following the publication of the rule from February 16, 2016 to December 18, 2017 included the awareness and transition phase, wherein carriers and drivers could use paper logs, logging software automatic on board recording devices, and electronic logging devices that are self-certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Phase Two: From December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019 is the full compliance phase wherein drivers and carries subject to the regulation can use automatic onboard recording devices that were installed prior to December 18, 2017, and electronic logging devices registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Phase Three: After December 16, 2019 all drivers and carries subject to the regulation can only use electronic logging devices that are self-certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

On November 20, 2017 in advance of the December 18, 2017 implementation of the congressionally mandated electronic logging device regulation, and to further facilitate transition by motor carriers and drivers, the FMCSA provided guidance related to enforcement procedures during the electronic logging device transition. These included a 90-day temporary waiver from the electronic logging device requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities, formal guidance specifically pertaining to the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agricultural industry, and guidance on the “personal conveyance” provision.

Beginning April 1, 2018 full enforcement of the electronic logging regulation begins. Carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that do not have an electronic logging device will be placed out of service. Additionally, the driver will remain out of service for 10 hours in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance criteria.

The transportation industry must navigate ever increasing regulation, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations can rapidly change.