BEND, OR -- Commercial drivers need an electronic logging device in their vehicles over 20,000 pounds, and the deadline to install them is today.
David House of the Motor Carrier Office and DMV, says many commercial drivers have been required to keep written logs, charting their number of hours driven and mileage, for years, and this new device will do it for them. More importantly, House says, the ELD will save lives. "You gotta remember the reason for this is, it's a safety measure, the hours you drive, cause fatigue, and being fatigued increases the danger of crash, and that's the whole point of the hours of service laws, is to prevent crashes."
As drivers use weigh stations, a transponder will read the ELD, sending information to the network to ensure compliance with the hours of service regulations, making the system both more convenient, and more accurate, House says. "So, motor carriers and commercial drivers are governed by Federal safety laws, and one of those is 'Hours of Service.' Most interstate truck drivers are required to keep a log book and this records their hours driving versus their hours on duty. Now, the log books have just been handwritten. And, of course, as you can guess, that could be prone to manipulation."
The technology was made available in 2016, and trucking companies have had almost a year to comply. Now that the official installation deadline has been reached, House says companies have 90 days before they may start incurring fines for non-compliance.
House says, in addition to convenience and accuracy, the ELD also keeps the driver honest, as the digital version isn't prone to manipulation. "So, several years ago, the Federal government decided, why don't we make it electronic? Just put a device in there, hook it up to the engine, and it's just automatic. The driver doesn't have to go to the trouble of keeping a log book, it's just automated."
ODOT is in the process of updating their website with details on which vehicles need to upgrades to the digital Electronic Logging Device system.