Research Project

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Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Logging Devices

Goal

To conduct an assessment of the safety benefits of electronic logging devices (ELDs) and their effects on hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.

Background

The need for motor carriers to monitor operational productivity led to significant changes in commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and driver monitoring and onboard recording practices. At the same time, the need for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its HOS oversight also increased. On April 5, 2010, FMCSA published a Final Rule that amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to incorporate new performance standards for ELDs installed in CMVs manufactured on or after June 4, 2012. On August 8, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated the Agency's April 2010 Final Rule on the use of ELDs for HOS compliance. The Court stated that contrary to statutory requirements, the Agency failed to address the issues of driver harassment, ways ELDs could potentially be used to harass drivers, and strategies to ensure that ELDs were not used to harass drivers. The Court also noted the Agency had not estimated the safety benefits of ELDs currently in use and how much ELDs increased compliance.

Summary

The current study will use carrier-collected crash data to obtain a more representative picture of how ELDs perform under real-word driving conditions. Second, the analysis will be at the truck level; thus, trucks with ELDs will be compared to trucks without ELDs (i.e., the Virginia Technical Transportation Institute [VTTI] will be able to differentiate crashes and HOS violations involving a truck with an ELD and those without). Third, a measure of exposure will be calculated (miles traveled) at the truck level. Last, although the sample of participating carriers in the current study will be a convenience sample, every attempt will be made to obtain a sample that is representative of the general CMV population.

Outcomes

A final report is expected December, 2013. The findings of the study will be reviewed by FMCSA and a panel of experts from industry, government, and academia.

Milestones

July 2012: Kick-off meeting.
September 2012: Research design and data collection.
June 2013: Draft final report.
July 2013: Independent peer review.
August 2013: Presentation of draft final report.
September 2013: Final report.

Funding

FY 2013: $150,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology

Status

Data analysis is currently in process, and a draft report is expected in August 2013.

Contractor

Virginia Technical Transportation Institute

Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014