Page 1 of 3
With the catastrophic bus accidents that have been in the news during the past few years, lawmakers are asking what more they could do to prevent them.
Although strict laws already are in place for CDL drivers, one proposal would be to limit the hours of service (HOS) for a chauffeur, mandating the length of time they can drive these vehicles. HOS laws already on the books to prevent driver fatigue look at how much time someone is actually driving a vehicle and require driver rest periods.
Since the 1990s, however, truckers and bus drivers have been using electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs). The for-hire transportation industry has been mostly exempt from the vehicle recorders, but that could now change.
In June 2012, the U.S. Congress passed, and in July 2012 President Obama signed, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21 Bill. MAP-21 included a provision that directed the Federal Motor Carrier Standards Act to set up a regulation which mandated the use of ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices, also known as a “black box” or an “EOBR”). While EOBRs previously only recorded the use of the vehicles, ELDs involve specific driver input. MAP-21 was the game changer for the for-hire industry which was previously exempt from on board electronic logging devices.
In March, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a regulation which would require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use ELDs in their vehicles.
Advocates of the requirement claim that the proposed rule making will reduce paperwork related to HOS while saving lives and becoming more efficient. They believe that ELDs will make it more difficult for drivers to misrepresent their hours of service, thereby reducing HOS violations.
Due to concerns with noncompliance found mostly in other segments of the transportation industry, Congress mandated that FMCSA require every commercial vehicle involved in interstate commerce and operated by a driver subject to HOS be equipped with an electronic logging device to improve compliance with HOS regulations.
What are ELDs?
As defined by MAP-21, ELDs are tamper-resistant devices that can record the location of a commercial vehicle, recognize when the vehicle is being operated, and allow law enforcement to access the data during a roadside inspection. MAP-21 also required ELDs to have data storage, unique vehicle identifiers, and allow for the identification of each driver subject to HOS and record of duty status (RODS) requirements.