Electronic Logging: Is Your Fleet HOS Compliant?

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  • May 11, 2016
  • by Chris Posey
  • compliance, electronic logging device, hours of service,
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Hours of service trucksThis post is the second of two addressing ELD/hours of service (HOS) compliance. Read the first post: Are You ELD Ready?

Driver fatigue is a serious concern for commercial drivers and fleet managers alike. According to the Transportation Research Board, between 400 and 800 fatalities occur each year that are a result of fatigued drivers behind the wheel of trucks and buses1. Therein lies the value of regulatory measures pertaining to HOS, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Beyond the human safety precautions that these regulations invoke, compliance with HOS regulations also mitigates the issue of potential fines and safety rating downgrades.

HOS rules have seen significant changes over the past eight decades. These changes have become necessary as transportation and technology have evolved.

Summary of Changes to HOS Regulations

Changes in hours of service

Penalties for Violating HOS Regulations

The safety of company drivers, passengers, and other drivers on the road is obviously the primary consideration of HOS regulations, and failure to comply with these regulations may result in the following penalties:

  • Drivers may be placed out-of-service at roadside until the driver has accumulated enough off-duty time to be back in compliance;
  • State and local enforcement officials may assess fines;
  • FMCSA may levy civil penalties on the driver or carrier, ranging from $550 to $11,000 per violation;
  • The carrier’s safety rating can be downgraded for a pattern of violations; and
  • Federal criminal penalties can be brought against carriers who knowingly and willfully allow or require HOS violations.

These penalties affect carriers both directly and indirectly, and their impact may be felt for years after an infringement occurs.

HOS and Log Maintenance

In 2014, the most frequent driver violation in roadside inspections, with more than 162,000 infractions, was that of not having a driver log or of having a driver log that was not current2. For years, fleet managers have been content to monitor compliance manually by keeping track of driver activity in paper log books. Clearly, this sort of record-keeping is susceptible to human error, physical damage, accumulated “incidental” error, and even discrepancies due to a lack of legibility.

To counter these problems, Touchstar makes available its eLOG HOS log application. eLOG automates the logging processes, which frees up time for making deliveries. In addition, eLOG meets all FMCSA regulations by providing EOBR and electronic logging solutions that automate, record, and store all driver logs directly from the cab. Additionally, eLOG allows fleet managers to review driver logs and run reports from any computer connected to the internet.

You can learn more about eLOG and other TouchStar compliance applications on the TouchStar website at https://www.touchstargroup.com/electronic-driver-logs.

1 16 March 2016. “Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health, and Highway Safety: Research Needs.” Transportation Research Board. Retrieved from http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/174090.aspx.

2 April 2015. Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, updated April 2015. Retrieved from http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/54000/54800/54841/2015_Pocket_Guide_-_March_30_2015__For_Web_Publishing_-508c.pdf.

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