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Truckers Have Their Say About ELDs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which oversees all of America's commercial drivers including 1.8 million long-haul truckers, has heard you loud and clear.

As a result, one of the most controversial laws regarding the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) and the hours of service (HOS) regulations is receiving a major overhaul by the Department of Transportation (DOT), even as truckers keep vital supplies moving during the Covid pandemic.

The reforms come after the FMSCA reviewed thousands of comments submitted by truck drivers and multiple other stakeholders regarding the DOT's proposal to change the relevant regulations. The controversial changes to the complex rules, set to take effect in September, are applauded by most industry groups while being objected to by some road safety advocates.

The key new regulations allow drivers to use on-duty hours, not only driving status, to determine break times; allow drivers to split their 10 hours off duty into two periods; extend by two hours the maximum driving time under adverse conditions; and extend the distance limit for short-haul drivers to 150 air miles.

In a press release, Jim Mullen, the acting administrator of the FMSCA, says, "These reforms will improve safety on America's roadways and strengthen the nation's motor carrier industry." In the same statement, administration officials say the new rules will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in "regulatory savings," thereby boosting the economy at a crucial time.

Many trucking groups say the changes provide much-needed choice regarding rest hours for drivers and how breaks must be taken after a certain amount of hours on the job. Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA, who petitioned the DOT for the regulatory changes, said truckers regularly face costly, time-consuming bottlenecks and the changes will "provide for a bit of increased flexibility for many professional drivers."

The FMCSA estimated in 2014 that ELDs could prevent up to 1,714 crashes, 522 injuries and 24 deaths every year. The ELD rule was designed to lessen driver fatigue and make the roads safer.

Click here to view the comments on the FMCSA proposal. Insert the docket number, FMCSA-2018-0248, in the keyword box, and click "Search." Next, click the "Open Docket Folder" button and choose the document to review.

And as always, keep checking with Country Supply for more up-to-date information on trucking regulations and technology!

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