Yesterday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finally issued a long-awaited rule that requires an estimated 3 million commercial truck and bus drivers to electronically track the hours they spend at the wheel of their vehicles. Such drivers have been required to log their hours since 1938, but the logs have been on paper and their accuracy has been subject to the whims and recording habits of individual drivers. Some drivers have also kept more than one set of logs in order to avoid citations for violations of the rules on maximum driving hours aimed at preventing driver fatigue.
Electronic logging devices removes the necessity of relying on drivers by automatically recording engine hours, miles driven, as well as vehicle location and movement information. Of course, there is push back from various groups of drivers who claim that some drivers will be pushed beyond their desired hours if they have not hit their legal hours limit and those that hire them know it, or that the technology is “unproven.” The safety administration, however, estimates a savings of a $1 billion a year on paperwork and administrative reductions, and that 562 injuries and 26 deaths will be prevented every year.
The rule goes in to effect in 60 days, and drivers have 2 years after it goes into effect to implement the usage of the recording devices.