Safety & Compliance

MFMCSA Releases Final Rule on ELD and HOS Supporting Documents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released its final rule on Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents.  80 Fed. Reg. 78291 (December 16, 2015).

The final rule mandates that within two years, all drivers of commercial motor vehicles who are subject to the log book requirements must use an ELD. However, “short-haul” drivers who are not currently required to prepare a driver log because they meet the 100-mile (CDL drivers) or 150-mile (non-CDL drivers) exemption will not be subject to the ELD requirements, either.  If these drivers exceed the limits of the log book exemption during a duty period (by going beyond the mileage limit or not returning to the work-reporting location within 12 hours), they must complete a paper log for that day.  If they exceed the limits of the log book exemption more than 8 times in any rolling 30-day period, then they become subject to the ELD requirements.

Drivers and motor carriers currently using Automatic Onboard Recorders (AOBRDs) under 49 CFR §395.15 are allowed to continue to use AOBRDs for four years after the effective date of this new rule.

Supporting Documents.  The final rule still requires supporting documents to verify on-duty not driving time.  Under § 395.11(d), motor carriers must retain up to 8 supporting documents for every 24-hour period a driver who uses ELDs is on duty.  Section 395.8(k) continues to require that motor carriers retain RODS and supporting documents for 6 months.  New § 395.11(b) specifies that drivers must submit supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them.

Under the new rule, to be considered supporting documents, records need to meet certain criteria in § 395.11(c)(2). The eight documents should contain these elements from § 395.11(c)(2)(i):

  • Driver name or carrier-assigned identification number, either on the document or on another document enabling the carrier to link the document to the driver, or the vehicle unit number if that number can be linked to the driver;
  • Date;
  • Location (including name of nearest city, town, or village); and
  • Time.

The FMCSA acknowledges that sometimes drivers will not receive documents that meet all these criteria. If a driver has fewer than eight documents that include the four elements under § 395.11(c)(2)(ii), a document that contains all of the elements except “time” is considered a supporting document; otherwise, it is not considered a supporting document.

There is no obligation on a motor carrier to create or annotate documents that it did not otherwise generate or receive in its normal course of business. If a driver submits more than eight documents to the motor carrier for a single day, the motor carrier must include the first and last documents for that day among the eight documents that must be retained.  If a driver submits fewer than eight documents, the motor carrier must keep each document.

Supporting documents consist of the following five categories, described in § 395.11(c):

  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that indicate the origin and destination of each trip;
  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts;
  • Electronic mobile communication records, reflecting communications transmitted through a fleet management system; and
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents that indicates payment to a driver.

The final rule also prohibits using an ELD in the harassment of CMV drivers.

Additional information on the rule for motor carriers, drivers and ELD manufacturers is available on the FMCSA website.