Trucking (Mostly) Welcomes Electronic Log Rule

December 10, 2015

By David Cullen

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Photo: Omnitracs
Photo: Omnitracs

UPDATED: Given how much industry feedback — dating back five years — informed the writing of the electronic logging device mandate announced Thursday, it’s not surprising that stakeholder reaction right out of the gate is mostly positive, with owner-operators marking the exception.

The final rule, which published reports indicate is scheduled to be officially published Dec. 16, requires truck and bus drivers who currently use paper log books to adopt ELDs within two years. Carriers currently using electronic logs will get an extra two years to switch to compliant technology.

The American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association expressed positive reactions Thursday, while comments from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association seem to indicate a potential legal challenge.

The American Trucking Associations said that it was “pleased” the rule is now out, stating that the mandate will help improve both safety and efficiency for the industry. ATA noted that securing a regulation requiring ELDs to monitor driver hours-of-service had been a “top priority” since 2010.

“Today is truly a historic day for trucking,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “This regulation will change the trucking industry – for the better – forever. An already safe and efficient industry will get more so with the aid of this proven technology.”

Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president and chief of national advocacy, said the lobbylooks forward to working closely with FMCSA, state law enforcement agencies, as well as our members and industry partners during the two-year transition to full implementation of this safety technology.”  

David Heller, director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Association, told HDT that there’s nothing unexpected in the rule.

“TCA applauds the efforts of FMCSA in promulgating an Electronic Logging Device regulation that aids in alleviating some of the burdens regarding supporting documents, eases compliance with the Hours-of-Service Regulations and furthers the efforts of the agency in the fight against driver coercion and harassment.”

Heller also said the rule “clearly relieves carriers and drivers of furnishing supporting documents pertaining to on-duty/driving time. It also outlines the performance specs for ‘FMCSA Compliant'" ELDs, which will aid carriers when finding a device that is practical for their fleets. 

And he noted that the mandate also appears to exempt drivers of trucks built before model year 2000, as they “lack the electronic feasibility to incorporate ELDs with those engines.”

Not everyone's happy

However, in remarks to its own Land Line magazine and on the Road Dog Radio trucking channel on Sirius XM, OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer indicated the association might challenge the rule. Again.

The Journal of Commerce reported that Spencer told Sirius XM radio host Mark Willis, “We’re not going to lay down for regulatory overreach."

“Do electronic logging devices truly improve highway safety? Nothing has been presented to indicate that, in fact, that is true. In fact, we see the opposite," he said in a Land Line magazine article online. “Onboard recorders are all about productivity and enhancing productivity, which basically puts those in constant conflict with the legitimate safety needs of drivers,” Spencer said. The article reported the association is reviewing the regulation and that it will "make FMCSA fully justify the mandate."

Spencer said the association challenged the Department of Transportation’s 2010 final rule mandating electronic onboard recorders in a federal appeals court and won in 2011, forcing FMCSA to rewrite the rule. “Our strategy will simply be the same this time," he said, according to the JOC article.

Working on compliant products

Suppliers of electronic logs have already begun pointing out that they will have product in place to ensure truck operators can meet the mandate once it kicks in two years from now.

For example, Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket announced on Dec. 10 that its VDO RoadLog ELDs and software will meet the rule’s standards for hardware, software, connectivity methods and integration with the vehicle’s engine as well as be tamper-resistance.

“We’re pleased to know that VDO RoadLog will be compliant with the FMCSA ELD rule, even though the devices required by the new rule are more technologically advanced than those required by the previous EOBR rule from 2010,” said Continental ELD Program Manager Alexis Capelle.

ELD provider Zonar announced as well on Dec. 10 that it is “primed to help fleet managers work towards compliance by the time the rules go into effect in two years.”

“When the ELD mandate was first proposed, we didn’t want to be a ‘me too’ solution provider,” said Fred Fakkema, vice president of compliance at Zonar Systems. “We wanted to leverage our experience and existing solutions to be at the forefront of a mandate that will help save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and enforcement.”

Fakkema advised that “fleets without an existing ELD designed to adapt to the mandate will need to take a strategic approach and work back from when its fleet needs to be compliant to where its fleet is now, including all the steps in between.

“Getting a fleet and its drivers to switch from paper logs to a technology they may not be familiar with has an inherent learning curve,” he added. “Our objective is to help fleets make this as a seamless process as much as possible.”

Another announcemen came from Rand McNally, which said it has launched a new "ELD Road Map" site to provide "all the information about the new mandate in one place."

Tom Cuthbertson, vice president of regulatory affairs for Omnitracs, suggested that fleets look beyond the letter of the new regulatiory law. “As fleets look to incorporate an ELD, I advise them to look at what other functionality and benefits they offer to help manage vehicles beyond tracking Hours of Service,” he  told HDT.

Cuthbertson said fleets should be aware of “the benefits of ELDs that go far beyond compliance, as it relates to efficiency and productivity. ELD systems give vehicle cost avoidances on maintenance, breakdowns and fuel management that provide a sufficient ROI to any size fleet.”

He explained that the FMCSA mandate’s requirement that the ELD be connected to the vehicle ECM “provides all this additional opportunity to control costs.”

And on Dec. 11, Telogis announced it was rolling out its “Electronic Logging Devices Made Simple” initiative, which it called a convenient way for fleets to more easily meet the requirements for new mandatory EDLs.

“The new ELD mandate is being met with a lot of uncertainty and confusion, which is why we launched ‘ELD Made Simple,’” said Kelly Frey, vice president of product marketing at Telogis. “We are delivering on a promise to enable a better experience for drivers and the businesses they work for. With ELD Made Simple, we are anticipating and solving the pain points of ELDs and hours of service adoption through the Telogis Compliance and Telogis Navigation apps, leading the way for every truck fleet.”

Frey said Telogis is “making the adoption of the ELD mandate and compliance simple with connectivity, applications and consulting aimed at improving safety, efficiency and productivity. Telogis-connected vehicle apps represent a mobile extension of its cloud-based software platform, which includes a suite of applications that enable companies with fleet vehicles, equipment and people who work outside the four walls, to stay connected to the company while identifying areas where gains in efficiency and cost-savings can be made.” 

Editor in Chief Deborah Lockridge contributed to this article.

Updated 7:30 p.m. EDT 12/10/2015 to add OOIDA information.

Updated 10:07 p.m. EDT 12/10/2015 to add additional information from ELD suppliers.

Corrected 11 a.m. EST 12/11/2015: Final rule is not published on Dec. 11 as initially reported. Published reports indicate it is scheduled to be published Dec. 16.


  1. 1. mike [ December 10, 2015 @ 02:48PM ]

    I do not feel like we "welcomed'' ELD's we have been forced into more technology that will break down and spend time being repaired at more cost.

  2. 2. CURTIS [ December 11, 2015 @ 03:21AM ]


  3. 3. Gilbert [ December 11, 2015 @ 04:17AM ]

    This ELD program is simply another government over reach to have control of another industry. ELD do not improve safety at all! As a matter of fact I know it puts more pressure on driving when a driver is already tired. The government wants to tell us when to get up when to go to sleep when to shower and when to eat!! What about parking??? A lot of us are out in the middle of no where in a two way street with no shoulder, no where to pull off and our time is done with driving, what happens then? I know one thing for sure, the people sitting behind the desk coming up with all these regulations have NO clue as to how the trucking industry works!!! NO CLUE... I'm sure if they would jump into a truck and really get out there and see what it really takes to get the job done, they would have a completely different out look of the trucking industry. Safety is their reason... HMMM all I have to say is REALLY??? Jump in a truck, leave your family for months deal with brokers shippers receivers traffic weight scales and come back and see if you want to go out again!!!! CLUE LESS PEOPLE JUST LIKE OUR PRESIDENT!!!!!!

  4. 4. Cliff Downing [ December 11, 2015 @ 04:25AM ]

    I found out all I needed to know in this article. That the ATA and TCA "look forward' to working with FMCSA on implementation. Why would normal, sane individual or entity "look forward" to working with a government agency? It reveals who was actually the instigator of this. I use and like an ELD in my truck and have for 4 years. But I also know Fascism when I see it and the ATA and TCA are prime examples reminiscent of Krupp Arms and other commercial entities that thrived under Hitler's Germany. Can everyone say Sieg Hiel!

  5. 5. Q lewis [ December 11, 2015 @ 05:54AM ]

    Another forum of control. All the big companies adopted e-logs and pushed for this law to pass to get a even bigger grip on the industry. The government wants to eliminate the little guy. They say it,will stop 26 deaths and 500 plus Accident per year I call bullshit. This is just another way to keep a leash up our ass and increase revenue for the government. I guarantee there will be an increase in Accidents and a decrease in productivity. I think all us owner ops should stop moving freight for 48 hours in protest against this crap they keep pushing down our throats. It's time for us all to stop letting a government that is supposed to be for the people by the people police us like children. I love America and will fight to protect it , I thought it felt the same way about me. It's starting to feel more and more one sided every day.

  6. 6. Steve [ December 11, 2015 @ 06:40AM ]

    Who is the Lying POS that wrote the headline for this article. ELD were forced down the throats of Drivers not Welcomed. Just like Obama Care only the ones stupid enough to believe the Government is here to help and the Companies that cannot get Qualified Drivers want and need this type of equipment To Level The Playing Field. We will see how welcome they are when there are No Drivers whom want a Ankle Bracelet Like A Prisoner

  7. 7. Paul Watts / WattsExpress [ December 11, 2015 @ 06:51AM ]

    Apparently the heads of all the government and the so called trucking safety organizations don't currently have a CDL license or have ever drove a truck. ELD'S will cause more accidents in inclement weather conditions and force drivers to drive fatigued because of the 8/2 split not being able to stop your clock in the middle of the day and take a 4 or 5 hour nap and killing you stupid 14 rule. Next where are all of us gonna park ar night truck parking is already scares
    This is BAD BAD BAD in so many ways for trucking rates are gonna go thru the roof so pay up suckers.

  8. 8. doug [ December 11, 2015 @ 08:05AM ]

    since this is a mandate , the gov. should pay for it

  9. 9. yote [ December 11, 2015 @ 09:08AM ]

    I don't know who you talk to, but you definitely need to get out more !!! The only people in favor of this are mega carriers and a few misguided souls who have regular runs and are home every other day. WHY do we need ELDS? if they are absolutely, positively going to save lives, why didn't it save the guys life in the Walmart accident? This is just government abusing it's power to track citizens as of they were criminals. We need to get tracking devices on every elected politician, and mandate drug testing for them to be sure they are doing the jobs we pay them for. I think drug abuse must be rampant in DC based on the c*** that comes out of there. What ever happened to FREEDOM and LIBERTY?

  10. 10. Bo [ December 11, 2015 @ 10:52AM ]

    We can thank that piece of garbage at the ATA Bill Graves for this B.S. He was a worthless P.O.S. governor and now he is a worthless P.O.S. that gave us this nonsense. I hope he rots in hell.

  11. 11. MBP76 [ December 11, 2015 @ 12:59PM ]

    The use of E logs now being mandatory.....The time that a delivery takes from beginning to end ...even if it goes smoothly will not give you enough time to get to a truck stop,rest area...most shopping centers will kick you out,or they will call police to ask you to move.So now you are actually forced to stop early and lose's not about safety,it's about who's going to get the BIG contract to mass produce those stupid devices..There is a shortage of truck areas being shutdown for lack of funding.
    where are we suppose to sleep when we are running out of time ?...Or shower...Eat..It makes me wonder what's next for the trucking industry and what is our future as drivers...I don't see how this is an improvement or safety related.

  12. 12. Ivan M [ December 11, 2015 @ 07:39PM ]

    Your comments in this article about trucking company's overall liking E logs I'm sure didn't take in to account smaller company's , nor owner operators, nor the fact that thousands of older drivers have commented the past few years they will quit or retire early causing a greater shortage of experienced drivers !!

  13. 13. Steve P [ December 11, 2015 @ 11:17PM ]

    Well here we go back to Court again. The Government lost this argument last time and will probably loose it again. Even Truck Drivers Have Rights.

  14. 14. Carlton Biggs [ December 12, 2015 @ 05:11AM ]

    Bo, I fell like you do and everyone in trucking cannot operatye this modern technology stuff. I had a smart phone and never could master it and gave it back. I have been in business 30 some years and this will put an end to me. I currently have all the expense I need and don't want any more.I have never drove for a big trucking company and now I never will. Let them auto pilot them.

  15. 15. Russ [ December 12, 2015 @ 08:05AM ]

    These articles are written by a bunch of liberal communists, when they say then trucking mostly loves these computers they're talking about a handful of the biggest companies not the majority of truckers. You are right it's all about the lobbyist that work for these computer manufacturers. Everybody is having to speed down the road now to make up for the loss of time so how is that safety related ? I'm driving when I'm tired now and sitting when I am full of energy. It has taken the fun out of trucking because I am no longer able to pull over when I want to and enjoy the ride. We are forced to stop and eat deli food so that we can get on the road we are no longer able to pull over and cafés that we like to frequent . So we are either getting fat from eating deli or skipping meals and not eating healthy .

  16. 16. Troy W [ December 13, 2015 @ 10:03AM ]

    All I got to say is hope everyone enjoys them steaks them bull haulers bring to the table! The grain to feed them cow's the grain haulers bring! And that rock salt and sand and rock and asphalt to make them roads nice to make electric logs work! This will drive the independent drivers out along with your freedoms to be a Truck driver! So enjoy them nice steaks you liberal rule pushing people!

  17. 17. John [ December 14, 2015 @ 09:14PM ]

    Just don't run them! We are independent and it's that simple. They can't shoot you.

  18. 18. dan roe [ December 18, 2015 @ 10:39AM ]

    I believe ELD's will put stress on drivers & cultivate aggressive behavior, because drivers are trying to beat the clock. Most of the truck crashes I see involve these large carriers that support the ATA. How is this supposed to be the benchmark for safety?

  19. 19. jim [ December 22, 2015 @ 08:14AM ]

    Gilbert I am 1000% backing your comment, I have been driving for 40 years, to this day i tell people its sad someone can get in their motor home and drive as far and long as they can but a professional driver is restricted to a time frame and is supposed to have an internal clock inside him to tell him that its safe to drive, this is been BS for a long time, and the BS i hear about safety, its easy for them to sit behind thier computers, laptops and on thier phones making ignorant descions, it is very sad, cant wait to see whats next on the agenda, trucks for blind people !!!


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