Since 1938, commercial truckers have been required to log their duty logs. Until recently logging has been done on paper logs. However, in December 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed a new regulation that requires the phased-in use of electronic logging devices (ELDs). The FMCSA believes that this rule will result in a net benefit of more than $1 billion through a combination of reduction of paperwork, efficiency of enforcement and increase in safety. The Americant Trucking Associations (ATA) also supports the ELD rule and in a letter to the FMCSA setting out its position, the ATA noted that a 2014 study found that carriers using ELDs saw a 11.7% reduction in accidents and a 50% reduction in hours-of-service violations.
The new ELD rules require: 1) minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service (HOS) ELDs; and 2) the mandatory use of ELDs. The first phase of the rule was an “awareness and transition” phase and permitted the continued use of paper logs. On December 18, 2017, the rule prohibits paper logs and mandates the use of ELDs or other grandfathered automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs).
Some drivers and smaller companies have argued that ELDs infringe on their right to privacy, will take control away from the drivers resulting inefficiencies, and will impact their bottom line. These arguments have gained some Congressional support. U.S. Representative Brian Babin (TX-36) filed a bill that would delay in the implementation of the ELD mandate. Despite the fact that the bill had 65 co-sponsors, it has remained mired in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Congressman Babin has also attempted to amend an appropriations bill to include the ELD delay but it was voted down 246-173.
As a last ditch effort to delay the implementation of the ELD rule, On November 9, 2017, Congressman Babin sent a letter to President Trump requesting a that he issue an Executive Order requiring the Secretary of Transportation to issue a waiver of the ELD mandate for all trucking sectors.
Congress appears to be satisfied with the ELD Rule and does not appear to be inclined to extend the December 18, 2017 deadline. And despite the Administration’s policy on reducing regulations there is no indication that it will intervene.