Over the last decade, commercial drivers have seen the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enact new regulations designed to prevent the issues related to fatigue among truckers and other drivers. As with most FMCSA regulations, improved safety for drivers and all citizens is a primary goal of these efforts. One rule enforced revamped the parameters for the number of hours a trucker could drive each day and each week. This rule also mandated the timing and duration of all breaks.

As part of the effort to increase and even force compliance with the Hours of Service rule, the FMCSA has also developed the electronic logging device rule. This requires commercial vehicles, including buses and trucks, to be equipped with special devices that connect to vehicles’ engines to collect and document detailed operational time. The ELDs can identify when an ignition was started, when it was idling and when it was being driven.

Before the ELD rule was in place, many trucks and buses were outfitted with similar devices called Automatic On-Board Recording Devices. These AOBRDs, however, lacked the capability to transmit the data as efficiently as the newer, more modern ELDs can do.

Fleet Owner explains that many drivers and carriers had pushed for a grace period before hard enforcement would begin, but that was denied. The full rule went into effect in mid-December of 2019. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is the agency spearheading the inspection process for commercial vehicles. Those found to be in violation may be subject to an out-of-service period as part of their penalty for not following the ELD rule.