Paper Logs are Dead

crumpled paper logs

Paper logs might not be quite dead yet, but they’re definitely on their last legs with no hope of recovery. Drivers and companies who haven’t switched over to an Automatic On-Board Recording Device already will have until December 16, 2017 to switch to the new Electronic Logging Devices.

Once you’ve made the switch, it’ll be time to bury your old paper logs for good.

What Killed Paper Logs?

In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) bill, which mandated the use of Electronic Logging Devices by most commercial truck drivers in the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was charged with creating the rules and regulations to govern these new Electronic Logging Devices. At the end of the day, paper logs needed to die, and this law sealed their fate.

Why Are Paper Logs Dying?

Paper logs, in place since 1938, are used to determine a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS). Over the years, different regulations for HOS have been put in place for driver safety, as well as the safety of everyone else on the road. When drivers are on the road for too long, fatigue sets in and people get hurt.

It is nearly impossible for a roadside safety inspector, or anyone else, to verify a paper log to make sure drivers are complying with the law and driving safely. On top of that, paper logs are subject to human error – transposed numbers, forgetting to log, misplacing the log entirely, etc. Ensuring the accuracy of paper logs is time-consuming for everyone. Using and keeping paper logs is expensive for everyone in the industry.

Paper Logs Replaced by Electronic Logging Devices

Electronic Logging Devices will be the new standard in HOS logging and reporting for drivers and companies. Prior to their development, drivers could use Automatic On-Board Recording Devices to replace paper logs, but they weren’t required. This new generation of logging systems will be required. As of December 16, 2017, nearly every driver in the country will need to have switched to an Electronic Logging Device system and said goodbye to their paper logs.

The FMCSA’s Final Rule, published in December 2015, created a few requirements for the new Electronic Logging Devices:

  • Driver harassment based on their electronic log is prohibited. In a separate rule, the FMCSA also protects drivers from being coerced into violating federal safety recommendations.
  • New HOS supporting documents will be established to further reduce paperwork.
  • Smartphone and wireless devices can be used as an Electronic Logging Device as long as they are compliant with all FMCSA regulations.
  • Anyone who currently uses an Automatic On-Board Recording Device has until 2019 to upgrade to the new, compliant Electronic Recording Devices.
  • Drivers from Canada and Mexico will have to use an Electronic Logging Device when they’re driving on U.S. roadways, too.

If you’ve ever wanted to throw your paper log out the window while speeding down the highway, your day has come. If you’re ready to plan the funeral for your paper log, contact us here at Gorilla Safety, today.

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