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Giant News for BigRoad Users — FMCSA Clarifies Driver E-Log Use

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BigRoad users demanded it; FMCSA guidance on records of duty status generated by tablets and smartphones

Until now, the rules for electronic logbooks were notoriously difficult to understand and inconsistently enforced. With fragmented rules published at different times, it was a challenge for anyone to figure out exactly how the rules worked.

Although we did our best to provide the most accurate, up-to-date info to our pioneering user-base, the published rules were never easy to follow and even more difficult to explain. But you always knew the future of transport would be paperless.

Now inconsistency and confusion are a thing of the past. Late last week the FMCSA published an update to its regulations and specifically addressed electronic logbooks on phones and tablets.

Much of the credit for the new FMCSA guidance goes to you, the pro drivers who use BigRoad. You’ve taken digital driver logs through real-world roadside inspections unhindered by sometimes-ambiguous interpretations of the rules. Your determination proved that compliant records of duty status, in electronic form rather than on paper, are a critical next-step in your profession. 

It was your questions to the DOT on electronic driver logs that made this clarification necessary. 

The “Regulatory Guidance Concerning Records of Duty Status Generated by Logging Software Programs” reads like a legal document and can put even the most over-caffeinated among us right to sleep. So, let’s clarify the important points in the document. 

On the subject of electronic logging: 

  • It’s okay to keep your logs on your phone or tablet
  • Your logging software does not have to connect to the engine or be an AOBRD to be legal
  • You can sign on the screen
  • If you sign on the screen, you don’t have to print every day
  • You may need to print during an inspection if you’re asked to
  • The inspector will need to give you time to print
  • The inspector has the option to inspect your on-screen logs instead of a printed copy
  • Your complete, accurate logs can be sent to your company electronically
  • You are still required to hold 7 days of logs but they can be digital

Thank to the FMCSA for the clarification. Thanks to the inspectors who rode out the uncertainty with questions to the DOT that deserved simple answers to make their jobs easier. But we especially owe our gratitude to BigRoad users for making the institutional confusion around e-logs a big enough issue for the FMCSA to issue its guidance.

Easy-to-use logs create safer, happier professional drivers, who in turn make our roads safer – and that is, after all, the mission statement of the FMCSA.