The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that commercial drivers, as of December 2017, use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track important data. The ELDs are similar to the black boxes used in airplanes, and help investigators understand how an Oklahoma truck accident happened. The devices replace written records and logs, which often weren’t accurate and sometimes weren’t honest. ELDs provide a range of useful analytics that should help both the driver and trucking fleet.
The ELD requirement applies to all commercial trucks, buses, and commercial drivers who are required to keep records of duty status (RODS) and records of Hours of Service (HOS). The device must comply with FMCSA technical standards, and can be registered with the FMCSA, though the group is not directly verifying the accuracy of each ELD.
Why are ELDs required?
Per the FMCSA, the ELD rule “is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.”
Ultimately, the trucking industry can use this data to:
- Lower truck accident crash rates
- Increase fuel efficiency
- Increase the time the vehicles are in use
- Increase compliance with other federal regulations
- Make it easier for drivers to keep and edit driving records because much of the work is being done electronically
- Save drivers numerous hours doing the data entry for their record keeping
- Reduce harassment of commercial drivers by trucking companies to properly record their mileage and trip records
Exceptions for ELD usage
Any driver with a commercial driver’s license who is required to keep a RODS (Record of Duty Status) must use an ELD. But as with any rule, there are always exceptions. The rule allows for limited exceptions for:
- Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not
- required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
- Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
- Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the
- commodity being delivered.
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2008.
Agricultural operations are given certain exemptions as well. Per the FMCSA:
- Covered farm vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more, operated by a farmer or a farmer’s employee, are exempt from HOS and CDL regulations if the vehicle is operated in the State of registration or within a 150-air mile radius of the farmer’s farm or ranch. Covered farm vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or less are exempt throughout the country.
- Drivers who transport agricultural commodities within a 150-air mile radius of the originating farm or ranch are exempt from HOS regulations. FMCSA has published proposed guidance on this exemption.
- Drivers who transport commercial bees in interstate commerce are exempt from the 30-minute break required by the HOS regulations if there are bees on board the vehicle.
- Drivers who transport livestock in interstate commerce are exempt from the 30-minute break required by the HOS regulations if there is livestock on board the vehicle.
Truck accidents cause fatalities and serious injuries because of their size, weight, and mass. At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys work hard to get our clients what they need, so they can recover from their injuries without the added stress of the bills piling up. To make an appointment with a member of our team, please call 405-232-1212 or complete our contact form.
Marcus P. Mears is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Mears is committed to helping Oklahoma’s injured victims in the areas of injury law and insurance litigation. Mr. Mears was selected to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his work as lead counsel in multiple seven figure injury cases. Learn More