Due to safety reasons, there are some trucking regulations are in place for the truck drivers and other roadway users. However, these hours-of-service regulations may seem a bit complicated even though they are super-specific. These regulations are mainly based on how many consecutive hours drivers can work and how much time they are required to be off-duty between their working shifts. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented these regulations to ensure that the drivers are getting enough rest in between their working hours. It is because fatigue and tiredness were the most remarkable reasons for accidents. When these regulations are not maintained, accidents tend to occur. That is why logging the driven hours is one of the most important parts of the FMCSA approved regulations. In general, truck drivers use different manual or digital methods to log their driving hours. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a mostly used digital method to track driving hours. Whereas, handwritten logbooks are an old-fashioned way to keep a record of driving hours.
Manually logging time:
This is the oldfashioned way to keep track of driving hours. Truck drivers use a paper logbook to note down their time both on and off duty.
Issues regarding accuracy
In this case, keeping accuracy is a massive issue. Plus, transparency is also an issue here. As a consequence, there is a lot of room for errors. Moreover, when the driver is busy, sometimes they might forget to keep the records. Again, there can be incidents when they might forget their total hours of driving and enter the wrong details.
Issues regarding honesty and transparency
Drivers may add false records in their logbooks. Sometimes, they might be pressured to work more hours for the benefit of the trucking companies. Even though, some drivers might willingly work more hours so that they can drive more miles to earn more money. Given the fact that their income is based on total driven miles per day.
Therefore, truck drivers’ logbooks are regularly monitored by authorities. They can inspect anytime and check if there is any violation of the regulations. Whenever there is any record of excessive miles driven for the time traveled, it causes suspicion. Moreover, some of the logging times and drives might seem identical when there are false records. However, if found guilty, drivers are charged large fines. Plus, they might get banned or get restricted on their abilities.
Electronic logging devices (ELD)
This is the widely used digital system to track driving hours. All the issues raised while logging time manually is solved. Drivers do not have to care more about their logs as the automatic device can track the records accurately. Plus, there is no scope for false records and altering the original time-log. Therefore, authorities have to worry less about monitoring the regulations.
How does it work?
AOBRD (Automatic On-Board Recording Device) was the first in history with an appearance in 1988. Then came the EOBR (Electronic On-Board Recorder). And now, ELD is the latest addition. AOBRD and EOBR were still the simpler forms of HOS tracking devices in comparison to ELD. An FMCSA approved ELD is connected with a vehicle through its engine’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. Then the engine data is transferred to ELD, through which the user can monitor the engine status, miles driven and vehicle motion status. Therefore, a monitoring device is necessary through which a user can get and see live feed data from the engine. It comes with an onboard display that shows the graphical form of recorded hours of duty status. Additionally, with smartphones and their applications, the users can also record their hours of service that can also be transmitted to the concerned supervisory authorities if needed.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), make it easy for drivers and fleet owners to manage compliance for the FMSCA’s Proposed Rule 3975. These devices can easily record a driver’s duty status, hours-of-service, and restarts with pinpoint accuracy. Additionally, they automatically notify the drivers for situations such as “no drive time remaining” or compliance-related information. These notifications help the drivers to concentrate more on their driving rather than logging.
The proposed federal law will mandate that commercial truck drivers electronically keep track of HOS (Hours-of-Service) with ELDs. If approved, the proposed mandate will establish:
- Minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service (HOS) electronic logging devices (ELDs)
- Basic requirements for the mandatory use of these devices by drivers currently required to prepare HOS records of duty status (RODS)
- requirements concerning HOS supporting documents
- Various measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs
Who Needs to Comply With ELD Hours of Service Logging?
Drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles such as semi-trucks and city and school buses, also known as CMVs are needed to comply with this. A vehicle will be classified as a CMV if:
- It is over 10,000 pounds in terms of weight
- It has a gross vehicle weight or combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds
- It can transport 16 or more people, including the driver; or nine or more people for paid transport purposes
- It transports hazardous materials that require placards
any vehicle that fits into one of these categories is required to comply with Hours of Service regulations and maintain a qualified Hours of Service log.
To conclude, The electronic logging device Hours of Service (HOS) regulations have changed the entire system of commercial truck drivers and fleets manage their hours of duty logging. From a primarily paper-based logging process to an electronic one that draws new attention to the current regulations is an absolute important process for improving safety, efficiency, and accountability.