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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Logging Devices


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


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.


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


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.


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


FY 2013     $150,000     FMCSA Research and Technology


Final report was published and can be accessed at


Virginia Technical Transportation Institute