Electronic Logging

On March 13, 2014, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule requiring electronic logging for all 3 million interstate truck and bus drivers. 

On July 28, 2015 the rule was set to the White House for review. The electronic logging rule is set to be published on September 30, 2015. Estimates for the cost are somewhere in the $800. range per truck. The rule will allow about two years to complete the switch from paper logs. And there will be exceptions for short haul, maybe some others. We will update this story after the rule is published.

As a driver that has used electronic logging,I can speak with experience, they are not that bad. I used electronic logging for 2 years and found it to be easy after the initial learning curve. The system I worked with gave an alert when getting close to the end of the drive time, this was very helpful. This was in the late 90’s, so I am sure as fast as technology moves that the new systems will be very user friendly.

In an accident, the truck driver is always 10% responsible, automatically. Then it goes up from there. If there is a lawsuit, then attorneys start digging through receipts and log books. Their goal is to find a 15 minute error in the log book, so the lawyer can say, “this accident would not have happened if the driver had followed the rules” because the truck would not have been in that exact spot for the accident to happen. Electronic logs make it difficult to make a mistake. Being electronic based on GPS and the engine running, it seems that log book errors will be few.

Another component of the rule is a mute button. All electronic logging devices must be able to be muted. The worst thing is to be finally comfortable in the sleeper berth, ready to drift off to sleep and the thing beeps.

The market is full of electronic logging devices from an array of manufactures. Many of them sync to your smartphone making it simple to have and send copies of logs to dispatch, law enforcement or the payroll department.

Electronic logging is here to stay and its really not that scary.FMCSA Smartphone App