Feds Announce New Regulations to Combat Driver Fatigue

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the adoption of electronic logging devices (ELD) that will improve roadway safety through strengthened compliance with Hours of Service regulations that target fatigue behind the wheel.

An ELD automatically records the driving time while also monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information. The use of this technology will be applied to all commercial truck and bus drivers, including those from Canada and Mexico who use domestic roadways.  

“This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. 

Federal regulations limit the number of hours on duty and spent driving. These limitations are in place to avoid driver fatigue, requiring employees to take work breaks and sufficient off-duty rest periods before getting behind the wheel again.

“The ELD rule applies to motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to keep records-of-duty service under the hours-of-service regulations,” said Duane DeBruyne, deputy director for the FMCSA Office of Communications.

This regulation included a number of commercial drivers who were exempt from compliance. While school bus drivers were not found specifically on the exemption list, “Drivers who use the timecard exception, and do not keep paper RODS, will not be required to use ELDs,” said DeBruyne.

As reported by the FMCSA, this new rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving fatigued drivers of large commercial motor vehicles on U.S. roadways.

The use of ELDs will result in more than $1 billion in annual savings by reducing the amount of industry paperwork, according to the FMCSA, while also increasing the efficiency of law enforcement in reviewing driver records. However, as the agency pointed out, strict protections are included in the ruling to protect commercial drivers. 

“This is a win for all motorists on our nation’s roadways,” said Scott Darling, acting administrator of FMCSA.   

Last modified onThursday, 10 December 2015 15:08