The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced March 12 a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to mandate electronic logging devices. The rule’s effective date and publication date in the Federal Register still are unknown, but it’s likely the rule will go into effect in late 2016. The  proposal says it will go into effect two years after the final rule is issued, presumably later this year.

Mandating ELDs

The mandate will apply to all drivers who are currently required to keep paper records of duty status. Drivers who are required to keep records of duty status in eight or more days out of every 30 days must use an ELD, replacing the 2011 rule’s requirement that drivers who keep records of duty status two or more days out of every seven use a logging device.

Hardware specifications

The devices required by the new rule are more technologically advanced than those required by the April 2010 rule, FMCSA says.

The new rule requires ELDs to be integrated with the truck’s engine and to use location information. They also must be tamper-resistant. The devices will track the truck’s movement but can allow for annotations by both drivers and carriers “to explain or correct records,” the rule says.

FMCSA is developing with states software to be able to receive, analyze and display data from ELDs so that roadside officers can use the information, according to the rule.

ELDs, as opposed to their EOBR and AOBRD  (electronic onboard recorder and automatic onboard recording device) predecessors, sync with a truck’s engine to capture power status, motion status, miles driven and engine hours, FMCSA says. They also automatically enter changes of duty status, 60-minute intervals while the truck’s moving and engine-on and engine-off instances, according to the rule.

The rule also stipulates that the ELDs “present a graph grid of a driver’s daily duty status changes either” on the units themselves or in printouts.

The rule also stipulates the connectivity methods, which include Bluetooth 2.1, email, USB 2.0 and more.