The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Thursday that electronic logging devices would be required in commercial trucks and buses by December 2017.
The FMCSA said the use of electronic logging devices would improve safety by better compliance with hours of service requirements. It said the devices could save an estimated 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries annually.
"Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify," said Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Transportation Secretary. "This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives as risk."
The FMCSA also said the final rule would prohibit carriers from harassing drivers because of ELD information. Carriers that have already installed recording devices may continue to use them for two years past the compliance date.
Opponents think the devices are intrusive and will complicate drivers’ jobs. The Arkansas Trucking Association and the American Trucking Associations are in favor of the ELDs.
"Today is truly a historic day for trucking," said Bill Graves, the president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. "This regulation will change the trucking industry — for the better — forever. An already safe and efficient industry will get more so with the aid of this proven technology."