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September 16, 2022
FMCSA seeks input on logging device regulations

On September 16, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a request for comments on its electronic logging device (ELD) regulations for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) (87 Federal Register (FR) 56921). In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency revealed it is considering changes in the applicability for pre-2000 engines, addressing ELD malfunctions, the process for removing ELDs from the agency’s list of approved devices, technical specifications, and ELD certification.

Comments are due November 15.

ELDs help ensure driver and motor carrier compliance with the agency’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The HOS regulations limit the number of hours a CMV driver may drive. The regulations also limit the maximum number of driver on-duty hours in a 7- or 8-day period.

The FMCSA is seeking input on whether the agency should reevaluate or modify the applicability of ELD regulations for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines; many vehicles with pre-2000 engines and rebuilt pre-2000 engines have engine control modules (ECMs) installed that could accommodate an ELD.

FMCSA enforcement personnel need to be able to review a driver’s paper logs when an ELD fails to record a driver’s hours, so current regulations require drivers to switch to paper logs for their Records of Duty Status (RODS) when an ELD malfunctions. However, an ELD may malfunction but continue to record a driver’s hours. The FMCSA asked whether the agency should clarify when a driver must switch to paper logs.

The agency posed several questions about the removal of an ELD from its list of approved devices:

  • If an ELD provider goes out of business and fails to self-revoke the listing of its device, should the FMCSA be able to immediately remove the device from the registered ELD list?
  • Should the FMCSA require ELD providers to update their listing within 30 calendar days of any change to their registration information?
  • Should ELD providers be required to confirm their information on an annual basis?
  • Should a provider’s ELD be removed from the FMCSA list if it fails to confirm or update its listing on an annual basis?
  • An ELD provider is given 60 days after the agency provides a written notice of proposed removal to affirm the proposed removal. Should the agency decrease the 60-day period to 30 days to enable more timely removal of an ELD listing?
  • Should the FMCSA consider other factors related to a carrier’s continued use of a device that has been removed from the FMCSA list due to changes in a provider’s status, such as going out of business or failure to file a registration update?
  • The FMCSA also had several questions about ELD technical specifications, such as:
  • Would ELD providers be able to include, in their output file and registration, version numbers of the individual components of the ELD, such as the version number of the software running on the graphical user interface/tablet, the firmware running on the gateway/black box, and the version number of the back-office software?
  • What would the impact be of including the following data elements to every logged event: actual odometer, actual engine hours, location description, geo-location, VIN, power unit, shipping document number, trailer number, driver, co-driver if there was one, and which co-driver was driving at the time?
  • Should more frequent intermediate recordings be required on the quarter hour, the half-hour, three-quarters of the hour, and the hour, and, if not, what would be a reasonable frequency to require intermediate recordings?
  • Drivers often fail to enter a new duty status before powering off the ELD, resulting in the driver’s remaining in driving status. Should the ELD automatically record an on-duty, not-driving event following the recording of an engine shutdown?
  • Should the FMCSA consider allowing a driver, rather than the motor carrier, to change his or her ELD configuration to an exempt status to help reduce the recordkeeping burden noted by the industry?
  • Should the FMCSA consider adding an exception to the regulation that would not require a driver to re-input yard-move status every time the tractor is powered off?

The agency also asked stakeholders whether it should establish an ELD certification process, what such a process would consist of, and how the FMCSA should treat existing devices.

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