Rule on Electronic Logging Devices by February 27

A new date for publication of an Electronic Logging Device (ELD, or Electronic Onboard Recorders) mandate has been announced by the Department of Transportation. The rule, previously projected to come out during the last two months, is now expected to be published by February 27.

The ELD rule is expected to appear alongside a rule creating a driver drug and alcohol database and will require drivers to use e-logs in lieu of written logbooks. It also sets requirements and standards for the types of ELDs that may be used. Electronic logs will make it easier for operators to enter their duty status information, as well as for carriers and law enforcement to review the data later. It is also designed to cut down on instances of altered logs, which can play a part in deadly situations when operators go significantly beyond their approved hours of service.

Top providers of e-log software offer options including apps that may be downloaded to a driver’s smartphone or tablet for entry and display, which would put the burden on carriers to define acceptable scenarios in which drivers may enter log data without violating mobile device use laws. One option suggested by Thomas Sullivan of Kitch Attorneys and Counselors is to mount ELDs to the truck dashboard and strictly enforce rules about the safe use of those devices.

The rule will have a 60-day comment period once it is published. Comments are scheduled to end April 30 if the rule is published on February 27.

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