FMCSA Adopts Rule Regarding Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) recently announced a new rule mandating Electronic Logging Device (“ELD”) use for hour of service (“HOS”) compliance. The rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to prepare and retain paper records of duty status (“RODS”) to comply with HOS regulations under part 395. The rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate, specifically, for drivers who operate using the timecard exception, drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days during any 30 day period, drivers who conduct driveaway-towaway operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, and drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

This rule is designed to improve commercial motor vehicle (“CMV”) safety and reduce the overall paperwork burden for both motor carriers and drivers by increasing the use of ELDs within the motor carrier industry, which will, in turn, improve compliance with the applicable HOS rules. Specifically, this rule: (1) Requires new technical specifications for ELDs that address statutory requirements; (2) mandates ELDs for drivers currently using RODS; (3) clarifies supporting document requirements; and (4) adopts provisions aimed at ensuring that ELDs are not used to harass CMV operators.

Per the rule, a motor carrier required to use an ELD must use only an ELD that is listed on the FMCSA’s registered ELDs list, accessible through the Administration’s website, The rule also specifies how the ELD is to be used, including a requirement that the ELD support a user account structure. The ELD must further allow a motor carrier to configure an ELD for a driver who may be exempt from the use of the ELD, for example, a driver operating under the short-haul exemption (100 air-mile radius driver and non-CDL 150-air mile radius driver).

The rule is effective February 16, 2016, though the compliance date is December 18, 2017. An ELD used after December 18, 2017 must meet the requirements of the rule.

Eric Winder Sella