The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to improve the clarity of existing regulations on electronic logging devices. The agency also wants to address some technical specification issues in response to trucking industry concerns.

An ANPRM is a published notice in the Federal Register, used by an agency to test a proposal or solicit ideas before it drafts its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the actual rulemaking proposal. FMCSA is being exceptionally specific about the input it seeks, going so far as to say, “We request that commenters specifically address the issues listed below, and number their comments to correspond to each issue.”

What FMCSA is apparently trying to avoid are rambling responses or general debate about the need for ELDs or comments on current hours of service rules. The ANPRM does offer the opportunity to discuss some ELD issues that may be bothersome to the trucking industry. For example:

  • ELDs are required on trucks built beginning with the 2000 model year. Rebuilt pre-2000 engines come with Engine Control Modules that can accommodate ELDs. Should ELDs be required in those situations? And just how many of those rebuilt pre-2000 trucks or trucks with updated glider kits are there?
  • Here’s a situation your drivers may face. FMCSA rules say that a driver should switch to paper logs when their ELD malfunctions. On the other hand, the same rules say that if the malfunctioning ELD is still recording driver’s hours (but is malfunctioning in some other capacity), keep using the ELD. For clarity, exactly when should drivers be required to switch to paper logs?
  • You may have seen that FMCSA recently removed one ELD model from its approved list. What should happen to carriers who were using that model ELD? How much time should carriers have to change to another ELD? Should it matter that the ELD was removed from the approved list simply because its manufacturer went out of business? What if the company fails to maintain its required business filings with FMCSA… but the ELD still appears to work?
  • Whenever an ELD powers up or shuts down, the system records these specifications:
    • Actual odometer
    • Actual engine hours
    • Location description
    • Geo-location
    • VIN
    • Power unit
    • Shipping document number
    • Trailer number
    • Driver
    • Co-driver if there was one
    • Which driver was driving

Should ELDs capture that same information upon every ELD event – such as going from on-duty/driving to on-duty/not driving – even if the truck is not shut down or turned on?

  • Speaking of geo-location, how frequently should ELDs transmit that data – every quarter hour, every half hour, every hour?
  • Drivers often fail to enter a new duty status prior to powering off the ELD, resulting in the driver remaining in on duty/driving status. To eliminate the issue, should the ELD automatically record an on-duty/not driving event following the recording of an engine shutdown?
  • Currently, ELD manufacturers can self-certify that their ELD meets federal specifications. Should FMCSA adopt a third-party certification process, such as in Canada?

FMCSA asks more questions about ELDs in this ANPRM. It’s an opportunity to help clarify some ongoing ELD issues. Just remember to address those issues specifically and number your comments.

Comments on this ANPRM are due by Nov. 15, 2022.


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