PEORIA, Ill. — Even as confusion still reigns with electronic logging devices, proposed changes to the hours of service rule that prompted the use of the devices remain a work in progress.
“It’s still on fast track status. The (advanced notice of proposed rule making) closed, and we received 5,200 comments on the ANPRM,” said Dan Meyer, Illinois division administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Meyer delivered the opening remarks to the members of the Mid-West Truckers Association at the Mid-West Truck and Trailer Show in Peoria.
Jack Van Steenburg, the chief safety officer of the FMCSA, was scheduled to speak to the group, repeating a visit he made last year, but severe winter weather prevented him from attending the show.
Meyer delivered remarks from Van Steenburg and promised truckers and truck company owners and owner/operators that work is continuing on the hours of service rule. The FMCSA announced in August 2018 it was starting the process of consideration to reform the hours of service rule.
“We are on the NPRM, Notice of Proposed Rule Making, which will be the proposed language and it is on fast track. I can tell you that. We were given strict instructions that we will adhere to our timelines so it is moving. I can’t give you a deadline or when,” Meyer said.
Meanwhile, confusion between electronic logging devices, and automatic on board recording devices, continues.
While some companies were allowed to use AOBRDs after the rule requiring the use of ELDs took effect, the grandfather clause that allows AOBRDs expires on Dec. 16.
“If you are running AOBRDs, work closely with your vendor early because do not count on an extension being granted. We’ve had two years to prepare for Dec. 16,” Meyer said.
The other continuing confusion is that some drivers don’t know which device they are using. The devices differ in the functions they can perform.
“The problem we’re having is you need to make sure if your drivers do have an AOBRD, they know it’s an AOBRD,” said Master Sgt. Todd Armstrong of the Illinois State Police.
It was a sentiment echoed by Tom Wise of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“Time and again, we will walk up to a driver. Do you have an ELD? Yes, I have an ELD. Can you use it? No. Take the time to provide education to your drivers, give them an explanation of how an ELD works so they understand how it works so when we pull up, it can be done in a much quicker fashion,” Wise said.
Meyer announced that the FMCSA’s CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will be rolled out later this year. The Clearinghouse rule takes effect Jan. 4, 2020, but the electronic database is being rolled out prior to that to allow people time to register.
“It’s estimated that we are going to have to have over 6 million people register for the clearinghouse,” Meyer said.
The Clearinghouse will include CDL holders, as well as others in the industry, from company officials to maintenance, repair and overhaul personnel and substance abuse providers, he added.
“The drug and alcohol clearinghouse is where all positive-tested drivers or drivers who refuse to test will be uploaded. They will be in that registry with that status until they complete a (substance abuse program), then after that they will stay in the system for three to five years,” Meyer said.
The rule will require employers to run new hires and existing drivers through the system annually.
“You are going to have to run every driver once a year to make sure they haven’t gone into the system,” Meyer said.
The Clearinghouse will contain violations that only occurred after the effective date of the rule, Jan. 4, 2020.