Safety & Compliance

Electronic Log Proposal Takes on Long-Standing Issues

March 13, 2014

By Oliver Patton

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
After the agency reviews the comments and publishes a final rule, perhaps later this year, carriers will have two years to comply.
After the agency reviews the comments and publishes a final rule, perhaps later this year, carriers will have two years to comply.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed electronic log mandate, unveiled Thursday, takes on a broad range of issues that have dogged the 15-year effort to draft a rule.

At the core of the 256-page proposal is the requirement that drivers who fill out paper logs must eventually switch to electronic logging devices, or ELDs.

It also covers technical standards for the devices and the supporting documents that regulators need to confirm compliance. And it sets requirements to ensure that electronic logs are not used to harass drivers.

Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, carriers, drivers and anyone else will have two months to submit comments. After the agency reviews the comments and publishes a final rule, perhaps later this year, carriers will have two years to comply.

The technical details

The technical specifications spell out how the devices should work.

The basic requirement is that the device record specific information – date, time, location, engine hours, mileage and driver, vehicle and carrier identification – and make it available to inspectors.

The driver will be identified by his license number and the state where his license is issued.

The device has to be synchronized with the engine, to record on/off status, the truck’s motion, mileage and engine hours.

The device will have to automatically record a driver’s change of duty and hourly status while the truck is moving. It also must track engine on/off, and the beginning and end of personal use or yard moves.

The agency is proposing that the devices use automatic positioning services, including either satellite-based Global Positioning Systems or land-based systems, or both.

The agency will not require the devices to print out the log, but it is offering that as an option. It says the device will have to produce a graph grid of a driver’s daily duty status, either on a digital display unit or on a printout. This is the first time the agency has proposed using a printer, and it’s looking for comments on the costs and benefits of that approach.

Many carriers now have onboard information systems that warn the driver when he’s approaching his hourly limits, but the agency is not requiring that capability in its proposal.

The primary communications method will be wireless web services, Bluetooth 2.1 or email. The backup will be wired USB 2.0 or scannable Quick Response code.

To guard against tampering, the device must not allow changes in original information about the driver’s records or in the source data streams that provide the information. It also must be able to check the integrity of the information.

A Schneider driver hands an enforcement officer his Omnitracs unit to check his electronic logs. The proposed rule would make paper printouts an option.
A Schneider driver hands an enforcement officer his Omnitracs unit to check his electronic logs. The proposed rule would make paper printouts an option.

Also, the device must be able to monitor and record compliance for malfunctions and inconsistencies.

Beyond the tech specs

The agency is proposing that the devices be certified by the manufacturer, and that certified devices be registered on the FMCSA website to make it easier for carriers to shop.

The agency projects net annual benefits of about $454 million, based on an average annual cost of about $495 per truck for the device and services. It based its calculations on Qualcomm’s MCP 50 system, describing it as an appropriate example of the current state-of-the-art device, although it looked at other products as well.

Among the benefits are reduced paperwork costs for carriers, as well as 1,425 fewer truck crashes and 20 fewer fatalities a year, the agency said.

The supporting documents portion of the proposal eliminates the requirement that carriers keep paper that verifies driving time, since the electronic log takes care of that.

It retains the requirement that carriers keep a variety of documents, ranging from bills of lading, dispatch records, expense receipts or payroll records.

To protect drivers from harassment, the agency is proposing that when the driver has indicated he’s in the sleeper berth the device is either muted or turned down so the carrier can’t interrupt his rest. Also, the driver would have to approve any changes the carrier makes in the driver’s data.

The agency plans to propose another rule to protect drivers from coercion by carriers, shippers, receivers or transportation intermediaries. This rule will include ways for drivers to report coercion as well as penalties for violators.

Industry Reaction

Many trucking companies support electronic logging, and early reaction from American Trucking Associations was generally positive.

“ATA supports FMCSA’s efforts to mandate these devices in commercial vehicles as a way to improve safety and compliance in the trucking industry and to level the playing field with thousands for fleets that have already voluntarily moved to this technology,” said President and CEO Bill Graves in a statement.

The group’s executive vice president, Dave Osiecki, said he’s particularly pleased that the agency is proposing to allow paper printouts of logs, but not requiring their use.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has long opposed ELDs, is taking a more cautious stance.

“The agency must address the serious safety issue of how (ELDs) are used to harass and coerce truck drivers into continuing to drive regardless of driving conditions,” said spokesperson Norita Taylor in a statement.

The group also is worried about how some of the technical details and whether or not ELDs will improve safety, Taylor said.

“This is the first stage in the regulatory process for the agency’s latest attempt to craft a rule on this topic, and OOIDA and small business truckers will certainly be weighing in and providing comments,” she said.


  1. 1. lisa [ March 13, 2014 @ 04:12PM ]

    How would an owneroperator with their own authority comply with all the FMCSA regulations for implementing their e- logs.
    I think the price would very costly.

  2. 2. jon gleaton [ March 13, 2014 @ 04:58PM ]

    I think the cost will out weigh the benefits....electronic logs will put more trucks on the road and result in more accidents....its more automobile accidents than big trucks but nobody is trying to govern them

  3. 3. Kenny [ March 13, 2014 @ 05:14PM ]

    Between the EPA destroying are engines with their rules and laws. Now the Feds will destroy a good honest profession. This is what happens when government becomes to large , just as large corporations have done also. They either want to control you by money or law , thus there goes your freedom on any term.

  4. 4. Bill [ March 13, 2014 @ 07:05PM ]

    ELDs will cost me dearly in lack of flexibility. 10 minutes from home, out of hours? Sorry, have to park. All breaks should deduct from the 14 hour window if they want safety. Why take a nap when it reduces my income?

    Give us flexibility to do our job SAFELY if the ELD becomes law.

  5. 5. Leon [ March 13, 2014 @ 08:01PM ]

    Flexibility keep me safe, I had three accident in last eight years and all three four wheeler ran into my truck, so now I say what will they do to keep us safe from the four wheeler it's not about safety it's about money. If they going to mandate, make sure it affect both parties( four wheeler as well as the truckers)if you talking safety. Is this going to effect my business maybe maybe not

  6. 6. Ronald Peters [ March 13, 2014 @ 08:27PM ]

    This proposed rule will be a disaster for small irregular route carriers and owner operators. The untested technology itself will be a nightmare causing drivers to quit. The cost in inefficiency and inflexabilty will cause small business to close up shop.

  7. 7. 4b [ March 13, 2014 @ 08:33PM ]

    i'm glad the liberal hdt will get it's way and turn the trucking world into california...this will end the careers of many...and the public will pay the price...all on the name of control....

  8. 8. Mike [ March 14, 2014 @ 03:08AM ]

    It's a shame to have to tie our hands. The trucking industry is safer then ever. So many rules pushed just a little to far. The 34 hour restart was good but then limit it to once every 7 days. Truckers are workers trying to live in this world of expense. If a politician or any other work field had to go by these rules and only get paid when they worked these laws would never fly. Out laws where ankle bracelets and now hard working people may have to also...

  9. 9. Brian [ March 14, 2014 @ 05:18AM ]

    Cautious optimism is fine...but the reality is that all these organizations refuse to discuss the number one cause of drivers being forced to run over hours AND companies pressuring them...that is shippers and receivers. Again the government overlooks the fact that drivers and carriers are required no reimbursement for times they are forced to wait. Electronic logging will hopefully force this issue with the government because there will be no fudging of wait times any longer and certain places will be outright avoided. Truckers need to embrace technology as a way to band together.
    But why should the industry believe in anything the government does? In the name of "crash safety" drivers are being harassed by roadside inspections for marker lights being out or reflective tape missing on mudflaps. And it isn't the DOT doing's the highway patrol driving up their brand new revenue stream...

  10. 10. Amish Trucker [ March 14, 2014 @ 05:25AM ]

    I am very curious to find out how many accidents have been reported by fleets running under the fuel oil/propane hos exemption? This is a great opportunity for a live study of the effects of having no hos regulations vs. what is in place now.

  11. 11. JL [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:06AM ]

    That is a great point Amish Trucker!

  12. 12. JL [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:15AM ]

    Has anyone heard anything more about the study they are supposed to do on the possible benefits of split berth time? If they would let up on the "8 consecutive hour rule" and let drivers sleep when they get sleepy it would help with so many issues, like driver safety, fewer trucks required to be on the road at high traffic times, AND fewer crashes/fatalities.
    These increasing rules and regulations might benefit company drivers whose employers take advantage of them, but they are slowly and surely putting us little guys out of business.

  13. 13. tom laughlin [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:18AM ]

    When your time is up stop in the middle of the road put your triangles out and a sign that reads sorry out of time!

  14. 14. adolfo quiros [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:28AM ]

    Comunist; cash, control, that everything about.

  15. 15. adolfo quiros [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:30AM ]

    Money ; money, control.comunist

  16. 16. Jean H. [ March 14, 2014 @ 06:35AM ]

    I think that all truck drivers should quit their jobs and get a job on the inside of anyway. Bottom line, who should have to work 70 hours of dictated work a week for less than someone not driving making the same in 40 hours with zero restrictions. Eat when you want, sleep when you want, work as many hours as you want, work two jobs if you want, and get benefits to go with it. The trucking industry will never band together, and the government not only knows that, but will forever continue to rape you of your profits because they know the money is there and they can. Park the truck and get a regular job. You will be much happier with less b/s.

  17. 17. terry [ March 14, 2014 @ 07:05AM ]

    I believe it will put all small business out of business. How would elogs make a driver safer on the road when he will be forced to drive tired and when the weathers bad. I also believe it will cause more congestion during rush hour traffic.

  18. 18. JPMinn [ March 14, 2014 @ 08:26AM ]

    I have been on O/O for 28 yrs. I am sick and tired of more and more regulations and government control all in the name of "safety". I have had enough of this government intrusion. Where will this stuff end???? Somebody please tell me that? I am ready to drive my truck up the capital steps and tell the f****n government they can have it. More and more COSTLY regulations and rules and intrusions, but my rates and pay never go up. When this EOBR regulation goes into effect I am done. They can have my truck. I am tired of it all.

  19. 19. doug [ March 14, 2014 @ 11:13AM ]

    I work for a company that has e-logs and turned the trucks down to 65mph. in order to make any money one has to go 100% for 11 hours. that gets very tiresome. there is no flexibility. I drove for 40 years with paper logs and was legal, why all of a sudden am I dishonest and not compliant?

  20. 20. K Lanier [ March 14, 2014 @ 05:01PM ]

    Along with pay by hour and over time after 8. It is coming ATA. Get ready large carriers. Watch what you wish for.

  21. 21. M Welch [ March 15, 2014 @ 06:34AM ]

    Why is it that like the other gentleman said, more rules and more rules. If they want to solve any problem at all they need to address the hrs you sit at a shipper or a receiver. Running LTL for 15 yrs. I swear I have never seen it this bad. You are treated like garbage. That is all good I guess with the government. As long as Joe public goes to the store and finds food on the shelf and gas at the station this will never change. Politicians are paid off by special interest groups that either operate or run these businesses. Don't ever preach safety to me about this. Look in the ditches. 9 times out of 10 it is not some o/o or small company.

    It's funny how you can take a company like RR Donnelly or Alcoa and put their employees on a continues swing shift and it obviously is not a safety hazard for them. I guarantee if this was a problem the insurance and osha would shut them down in a heart beat. But yet our government wants to cookie cut our industry. If you are sitting outside of Chicago for a am delivery and your log says you can't move until 7 am you are nuts to sit there. There is nothing safe about this. You get into town and be where you need to be before everyone starts in. If it is Friday and you are 1 and a half hrs from your house. Your wife and children are waiting on you to get home to leave for a family camping trip but your computer tells you to go to bed. Yeah,that sounds like a good plan.

    I hate to break the bad news to makers but, my computer that supposedly knows what's best for me and my body will probably quit working. If this was all about safety I would be the 1st to vet on board. Has nothing to do with safety. Just remember the stats in the article. I almost guarantee the accident and fatality rate will increase with this law!

  22. 22. Bo [ March 15, 2014 @ 09:14AM ]

    Former truck driver looking for work.Pushed out of the industry due to stupid government regulations.Government trucking regulations have made it impossible to earn a living.Contact me through this website.Otherwise I will have to go on welfare and get back some of the money the government has stolen from me over the last 28 years.Oh,and to the rest of the country,the highways will get more unsafe with even more mega carrier steering wheel holders on our roadways.

  23. 23. John [ March 15, 2014 @ 09:18AM ]

    Well, here comes another government takeover. We have lost almost all of our free enterprise because of a few complainers about truck safety. You need to look at how many accidents are caused by drivers in four wheelers thinking that trucks can maneuver as well as they can. Lets get them educated. This law is part of the inflation we will see in the near future because we will raise our rates to compensate for the extra expense, time lost and shortage of truck drivers. Many of them will find another occupation! Control, control, control, control, that all our liberals want. It is about 10% safety and 90% money and control. Give us a break. We have too many things to be in compliance with already. This must be the last days!!!

  24. 24. Vdot [ March 15, 2014 @ 09:45AM ]

    there is no device that can tell a person when he/she is tired,Depending on where you are moving freight depends on how you have to drive ...the nort east takes way more time to make a move a short distance than in the Midwest you can drive an hour and a half to p/u and sit there waiting to get loaded for hours or stuck in traffic for hours , I use to pull until traffic died down but now you have to keep pushing or run out of hours, I like it better when if you sat for more than 2hr's it didn't count against you, you use to be able to pull over take a nap for a couple of hours and take off again without that time counting against it's rush , rush , I better hurry up or i'll be stuck some where I don't want to be with penalties....I believe there will be an increase of truck traffic due to these bogus so called safety issue regulations because ther is going to be a lot of trucks sitting and someone is going to have to fill in the massive gaps.. and I also believe that someone has a special interest in the rail road part of moving freight....Hum

  25. 25. JP Sorensen [ March 15, 2014 @ 01:08PM ]

    The day they turn these on is my last day in a commercial truck.
    And the industry thinks they have a driver shortage now ?

  26. 26. Bob Carroll [ March 16, 2014 @ 06:40AM ]

    All of you are blaming this on the Feds,it is also the ATA who is pushing this. The big boys started this by putting these devices in their trucks and now want them in all trucks. The last time I checked (about two years ago) the big boys were having just as many log violations as before,and just as many accidents and fatalities. So how does anyone say it is for safety. BS

    They can not compete as well and to be able to their answer is and has always been run the competiton out. Buy the politicians, make them selves look good, lie about their safety. The truth is told by the ATA trucks that are in the ditch, crashed and on the hook. I have been doing this for 36 years and had one wreck, my fault. Never wrecked or towed out of the ditch in the winter during storms. Train their drivers right and maybe all these regs will not be needed.

  27. 27. Robin Doherty [ March 17, 2014 @ 11:31AM ]

    I think one of the most important aspects of the proposed rule is the giving total control to the driver over his records. I think that drivers really need to focus on this and try to understand this section and the benefits it provides. It appears to me that the intent of the regulation is to finally recognize and deal appropriately with the sweatshop labour approach that has dominated much of the industry for far too long. Drivers please read section (X) Ensuring Against Driver Harassment. It starts in page 74.

  28. 28. Charlie [ March 17, 2014 @ 01:30PM ]

    Those who are against electronic logs just want to run illegal. It's that simple.

  29. 29. Doug [ March 18, 2014 @ 05:10PM ]

    !st, either the article is portraying tech specs in the worst way possible, or the FMCSA is trying to make EOBR's more palatable by calling them ELD's. Call a skunk a rose, guess what. It still STINKS! I am not totally against electronic logs, but why not make a compromise? Change the 14 hour clock to a 16 hour clock, and most drivers would take advantage of that to take a break when they WANT one. Keep the 11 hours drive time or the 14 hours total on duty, that is fine. Also, the cycles are out-dated. That was from a time when there were NO interstates and were originally to protect the driver! Back then, they HAD to be regional, so the cycle allowed them to go home, now they keep us from going home. Take a re-set, the company says you have hours to run. I would suggest that if the driver has enough hours to load, then he or she should be allowed to deliver the load ( within legal daily hours) then take a re-set, hopefully at HOME!

  30. 30. bryan [ March 20, 2014 @ 07:36PM ]

    ATA says want to even the playing field why don't they put eld in there trucks and stop mandating it for all of us same goes for speed limiters etc

  31. 31. Richard [ March 20, 2014 @ 10:38PM ]

    I have already Quit, after 37 yrs. behind the wheel, I will never drive again. I remember you FLIPPEN promises, when you mandated that Commercial License's become C.D.L.'s, Oh how this was going to help the Drivers, All the States you run in were going to change there laws, so that if I took the test in California, New Jersey laws were going to be exactly the same ! LIARS. I remember, that (ALL) truck Chassis vehicles had to Get C.D.L.'s, LIARS. What happened to these Diesel pusher Motor Homes ? The AARP's lobby took care of that. All You did with that B.S., was made (EVERYTHING) go against the drivers. The Truck Drivers get Cited for everything, and anything, that any number of, SO CALLED, law enforcement officers can find. And there are a lot of them out there with ticket books ready. We drive 100's of thousands of miles a year, yet our points system on our C.D.L., is the same as the people with-out C.D.L.'s who might drive, 35-70,000 miles a year. YOU MAKE ME SICK, YOU LIEING, BASTARDS. SAFTEY MY ASS !

  32. 32. Boat_r_trucker [ March 21, 2014 @ 07:13AM ]

    This is nothing more than Statism (communism) on display again. Progressives thinking that Big Government can solve all problems and give us a Utopia. Freedom is fleeting my friends. This is not about safety, just as Climate Change and the EPA engines are not about a clean environment, but instead, redistribution of wealth. This is about the ATA big carriers, who can't compete with the hands on, attention to detail, customer service, that small carriers, and owner-operators provide. No, we little guys can't flood a shipper with 100's of trailers, or give fancy websites to track shipments, but once a load is on a trailer, the ATA big guys can't compete with us little guys. I know this first hand. I've competed with them from Day 1. They can't out think me, out dispatch me, and can't think outside the box to solve problems like I, and other small carriers can. Small carriers are the Rocky Balboa of the industry. Now, they are using the government to eliminate us. Why is it, as some believe, that if we use paper logs, we are illegal? This is not about safety. Progressives always cloak their intent in words like, clean environment, social good, and public safety. Trucks are safer now then ever before. The data supports this. Truck crashes are going down and down each year. No, this is simply about eliminating the small carrier. But should we be surprised? Washington is so out of touch with the real world. EPA MPG requirements for trucks? Seriously? That's a whole other subject. I'm right in the middle of my career, and I can't retire. But I'm a survivor, I'm an American, and I am a Ronald Reagan rugged individual. I will find a way to work around this to survive. I wish everyone the best of luck as they try to do the same.

  33. 33. Dusty Duncan [ March 27, 2014 @ 08:52AM ]

    Everyone please sign this.

  34. 34. John [ March 29, 2014 @ 06:59AM ]

    I sleep when I want to sleep I drive when I want to drive and I stop working when they pass the new law. I' m in this business to make money to make a decent living. I'm not a company driver with $1 in my wallet. You never find me sitting at petro for hour eating the buffet or watching the TV. You can find me on the road or rest area slipping .I'm safe because I drive when I feel like driving and I sleep when I'm tired.I'm not watching the TV in the Truck Stop and I'm eating the garbage food at the buffet 2 or 3 times a year.

  35. 35. john [ March 29, 2014 @ 07:33AM ]

    the bankers have to fight for this law. If is aproved they will lose big $. Just imagine how many truck will stop working. The day they stop working is the day they stop paying.

  36. 36. Abalama [ April 01, 2014 @ 08:20AM ]

    I've never been more pissed off in a CMV than being forced to park at 11AM on a beautiful day because I'm at my 70 hours after only 90 miles of driving, just 50 miles from my destination, after being delayed because some texting 4wheeler took out a big-rig and shut down the whole interstate, and me not wanting or needing to rest when my logbook says it's time to do so. Then after not getting any sleep all day, and being tired and ready to go to bed, now it's snowing and my company expects me to roll at bedtime or face a service failure if this JIT load doesn't get delivered.

  37. 37. lil dude [ May 05, 2014 @ 02:40AM ]

    The government is not for the truckers it's only for making the big companies money an making slaves back out of the o/o to force us out of our trucks into company trucks an the sad part about its no safer with a eld then paper logs it's forcing drivers to drive against there body an it's going to increase traffic an more accidents increased to more trucks on the rode to race against time an then make food an other items more costly do to either higher frieght rates or not enough drivers do to drivers leaving the industry so I think it's a bad idea overall

  38. 38. lenneth [ May 12, 2014 @ 11:34PM ]

    I am a oilfield hauler loads come up a all times. If this law is passed we want to supply the oil companies and that would put more inexperienced drivers on the road. Oil company speak up please

  39. 39. mike [ May 19, 2014 @ 06:42AM ]

    I love the argument by the ATA that mandating EOBR's would "level" the playing field. Who mandated that companies that currently have EOBRs get them? NO ONE. Piss poor decision making by these companies should NOT effect me ! The government is winning by pitting people against EACH OTHER! Trucking companies should have explored the unintended consequences of voluntarily utilizing EOBRs. Because companies didn't weigh the negatives, this is where we are, fighting for a " level playing field"The FMCSA loves it. When will you understand its all about controlling our lives.

  40. 40. Peddler [ May 19, 2014 @ 06:51AM ]

    I to am tired of the Government telling me how and when to do everthing. I have done this safely and with an excellant CSA score. I think they should tend to more important issues then to meddle in to our lives all the time. Do something important like straigtening out the Gov. screw-ups.

  41. 41. Goran Trtanj [ July 29, 2014 @ 07:16AM ]

    It goes against biological clock and it is especially dangerous during winter, where it is expecting me to drive in snow just because I lost the whole previous day stuck somewhere. It is a dangerous rule that will further hurt economy and DOES NOT improve safety. Quite the contrary actually.

  42. 42. charles whitfield [ September 29, 2014 @ 09:24PM ]

    Face up guys,this IS the U.S.A.!!! They will come up with the most absurd policies imaginable,and sometimes overnight. Watch out for the upcoming weekday changes!

  43. 43. Bobby [ December 27, 2014 @ 04:18PM ]

    When are they going to leave us alone and clean there own house ?

  44. 44. Sherrie [ May 18, 2015 @ 12:03PM ]

    Pretty soon, they will charge us for breathing. Hell, we pay the highest road taxes and are told what lanes we can drive in. The 4 wheelers cause far more accidents than big trucks and no one says crap about that. Can't tell you how many morons I see texting while driving as I look down at them from my semi, but we get the heavy fine if caught with the phone to our ears. Now they want tattle tail boxes. Clearly a money racket. If the truckers stop moving America and pissed on their bogus regulations, what are they going to do when the stores are not stocked. Personally, I am sick of Washington padding their pockets while the little guys struggle to support their families.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All