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Truckers to fully commit to electronic logging while driving

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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that truck and bus drivers will be required to use electronic logging devices to track hours spent driving.

The two-year phase-in period has already begun with a deadline on Dec. 10, 2017, though many members of the industry already use ELDs.

“We have used electronic logging devices for a number of years, and they have improved our efficiency and allowed us to monitor and enhance our safety programs, said Reggie Dupré, Lafayette, Louisiana-based CEO of Dupré Logistics, L.L.C. “While we feel that the use of ELDs could and should be implemented immediately, it is the call of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, as well as the number of hours spent driving. These limitations are designed to prevent truck and bus drivers from becoming fatigued while driving, and require that drivers take a work break and have a sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status. Electronic logging devices will replace hand written logs that are currently used in the industry by those who haven't switched to the new technology.

“New technology is helping us better manage risks in so many industries in so many ways”, said Mike Gramm, Chicago-based head of business lines for trucking company insurance at XL Caitlin. “Like any new requirements, many companies and drivers will have to learn to make adjustments and work off a learning curve, but anything that we can do to help make our roads safer for everyone is a step in the right direction.”

Rich Bleser, fleet specialty practice leader at Marsh Risk Consulting in Milwaukee usedboth written and electronic logging. “As a former truck driver myself, it really did make my life as a driver easier, and as a safety and compliance manager it really helped to have real-time data. Drivers also then don't have to sit down and recreate their log at the end of the day or during their route.”

“From a driver's standpoint we hear drivers complain about it, but after they get used to using it, they don't want to go back to the manual logs,” he said.

The final rules are expected to affect 3 million drivers still using written logs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in the statement.