The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to know how it can improve the clarity of electronic logging device regulations, which have been in effect since 2017.
A Sept. 16 Federal Register notice, citing the five specific areas in which FMCSA is considering changes, was published shortly after the agency removed the ELDorado ELD from its list of registered devices. Back in June, the agency also removed the ArionT ELD from its list of registered devices.
FMCSA seeks industry comments by Nov. 15 for potential changes to the following:
1. Applicability to pre-2000 engines
Many vehicles with pre-2000 engines and most vehicles with rebuilt pre-2000 engines have engine control modules installed that could accommodate an ELD, the agency states. FMCSA wants to know if it should re-evaluate or modify the applicability of the current ELD regulation for rebuilt or remanufactured engines or glider kits.
2. Addressing ELD malfunctions
The current rule requires a driver documenting his or her record of duty status to switch to paper logs when an ELD malfunctions. FMCSA seeks input as to whether carrier and driver responsibilities should be amended to clarify when a driver must switch to paper logs.
3. Removal process from FMCSA's list of certified devices
If an ELD provider goes out of business and fails to self-revoke, should FMCSA be able to immediately remove the device from the registered ELD list? The ELD rule requires providers to keep their information current. However, the rule does not include a time restriction. FMCSA wants to know if it should require ELD providers to update their listing within 30 calendar days of any change to their registration information. Additionally, the agency wants to know if ELD providers should be required to confirm their information on an annual basis, and if they don't, should an ELD provider's device be removed from the registered list if it fails to confirm or update its listing every year?
4. Technical specifications
FMCSA requests information on the impact of including the following data elements to every event:
- Actual odometer
- Actual engine hours
- Location description
- Power unit
- Shipping document number
- Trailer number
- Co-driver if there was one
- Which driver was driving at the time, if there was a co-driver
FMCSA also wants to know if it should consider adding a temporary yard-move mode exception to the regulation; if a driver, rather than the motor carrier, should be allowed to change ELD configurations to an exempt status to help reduce administrative burden; as well as any actions the industry recommends the agency should take to ensure that ELD specifications remain current with advances in technology.
5. ELD certification
When it comes to ELD certification, FMCSA seeks information on whether it should establish a certification process for ELDs, and if so, what that process should look like.
As of Sept. 19—three days after publication in the Federal Register—hundreds of comments had been filed by mostly owner-operators and smaller trucking companies.
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) welcomed an ELD “retrospective review” that considers previous suggestions the coalition made, including that FMCSA develop an actual, bona fide ELD certification program.
“We also suggest that FMCSA please now consider, along those lines, our previous assertions to both FMCSA and NHTSA … regarding the potential for remote telematics hacking as it now reviews technical considerations,” SBTC commented. “We think USDOT should look at ELD installation both in terms of factory and post-factory ELD installation, in which case both USDOT agencies should be involved.”
Owner-operator comments ranged from supporting the elimination of the ELD mandate completely to urging the agency to leave the pre-2000 engine exemption as is. “The pre-2000 engine rule should stay around,” according to a comment from Keith Ware. “The computer limitations are very great in these engines. Glider kits need to still be allowed."
“The e-log malfunction should not shut you down if all logs are available and it is still monitoring the duty statuses and auto switch into driving,” Ware added, noting that ELDs “push many drivers to drive fatigued.”
“I hope you leave the pre-2000 trucks alone,” commenter Allen Boyd said. “It just seems like the trucking industry is getting regulated out of existence. It’s sad in way, but understandable in some ways. The guys running the old-school trucks enjoy the lack of technology. Having run paper and e-logs I can attest that I was much happier on paper than e-logs. I was much more rested and never had to push the envelope worrying about my clock.”
Boyd added that the FMCSA should instead be working on fixing the truck parking problem across the country.