10 Things You Must Know About the ELD Mandate Before December 18, 2017
10 Things About the ELD Mandate You Must Know Before December 18, 2017

Are you prepared for the upcoming ELD mandate?

Do you know every important detail that you need to know before the compliance deadline comes?

Eligible truckers and fleets — those who need to comply with the FMCSA’s ELD rule — would require compliant electronic logging devices before December 18, 2017. Otherwise, they will be fined and cited.

Moreover, not having electronic logging devices after the ELD mandate compliance deadline will negatively affect your business. Since your competitors would be equipped with ELDs, they will get more clients than you.

You don’t want to be in that situation.

To help you fully prepare for the upcoming ELD mandate, we have compiled a list of the top 10 things about the ELD mandate that you must know before the compliance deadline. This list will help you get ready for the upcoming ELD mandate and life in a post-ELD world.

Here they are:

1. Not Everybody Needs ELDs

First thing first.

You might not even need ELDs.

Although the FMCSA’s ELD rule applies to most commercial motor vehicles, it does not apply to everyone. There are some exceptions, too.

You do not need electronic logging devices if you belong to any of the following four categories:

  •   Driveaway-towaway.
  •   Vehicles with pre-2000 engines.
  •   Short-haul drivers who do not have to maintain RODS.
  •   Short-haul drivers who maintain RODS for no more than 8 days in a 30-day period.

So if you do not require ELDs, you won’t have to worry about the mandate or everything else. However, if you do not belong to any of the above four categories, it means that you do require electronic logging devices to comply with the upcoming mandate and, therefore, you must prepare.

2. Short-Haul Fleets Might Also Need ELDs

As you just learned in the ELD mandate exemptions, short-haul fleets do not need electronic logging devices. They are exempt from the ELD mandate.

However, many short-haul fleets are also buying ELDs.

Why?

Not only because they like the various ELD features and valuable insights and data these devices offer, but also because short-haul fleets might need to comply with the ELD mandate.

Let us explain.

As you know that, sometimes, short-haul drivers breach the short-haul limitation, e.g., drive more than the 100-air mile radius, or do not come back to their starting point within 12 hours, etc.

On those days, short-haul drivers are required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS).

According to the ELD mandate, if a driver does so and has to maintain RODS for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, he or she would need a compliant electronic logging device solution, just like others.

The problem with short-haul fleets is that they have to foresee and plan a long-term strategy, because they can’t determine it on the 7th day that they need an ELD.

According to the FMCSA’s director, Joe DeLorenzo, the 8-day exception is his biggest concern in the context of ELD implementation. In an address, he said:

“The one [area] that I’m most concerned about is the 8-day rule. Because the 8-day rule is the one where you can’t be figuring this out on the seventh day in any 30-day period and finding out that this is going to be a problem.”

He also added the following:

“That’s what happens a lot: ‘my driver went down sick for a couple of days, and now, suddenly, I’m going to be losing this exception, and that [other] driver is going to need an ELD’. Then you have to got to go back, and you have got to enter all that information into the ELD so the driver can use it, and then it’s just a lot more work for everyone.”

However, the problem can be solved by long-term planning.

If you are a short-haul driver, you need to determine how often do you breach the short-haul limitation. If it is more than 8 days in any 30-day period, you will need ELD. Make sure to buy a compliant electronic logging device before the December 18, 2017, compliance deadline to be fully prepared and familiar with using the device.

Note: One important thing to note here is that a 30-day period does not mean a month here. A period from June 20 to July 30 would also be considered a 30-day period. And you should not be needing to maintain RODS for more than 8 days in any 30-day period to be truly exempt from the ELD mandate.

3. The ELD Mandate Deadline isn’t Changing

There are some rumors that the ELD mandate deadline is going to be delayed. Those rumors are just that — false rumors that are not based on facts.

Here’s the truth based on facts: the ELD mandate deadline isn’t changing.

It is still December 18, 2017, and after the deadline, vehicles without ELDs will be fined and cited.

If you recall, OOIDA appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where it got rejected. OOIDA then applied for a rehearing, which got denied as well. OOIDA then tried taking matters to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court also didn’t entertain the request and favored the ELD mandate and the previous decisions by lower courts.

Now, the Senate DOT bill has also skipped any changes to the ELD mandate. Moreover, Congress has also voted down the attempt to delay the ELD mandate until September 30, 2018.

All these are proofs that lawmakers are not willing to make any changes to the final ELD rule, and the ELD mandate is all set to be implemented from December 18, 2017.

Do not pay any attention to rumors. Instead, make sure that your fleet is fully prepared before the compliance deadline.

4. You Shouldn’t Buy AOBRDs Now

Vehicles equipped with AOBRDs get two additional years to comply with the ELD mandate. The deadline for them is December 16, 2019, instead of December 18, 2017.

The two-year extension seems tempting to many fleets, which are prompting them to buy AOBRDs now.

If you are thinking the same, let us stop you right now. It’s not financially viable to buy AOBRDs now. Basically, you would be buying AOBRDs now and replacing them with new devices (ELDs) within 24 months.

You will incur double expenses. That’s not wise.

There are two possible solutions here:

  •   Buy ELDs now and be done with it for good.
  •   Second, buy ELDs that are capable of working as AOBRDs until December 16, 2019. That way, you won’t have to purchase separate devices.

We have already mentioned on ELD Mandate Facts that companies like KeepTruckin offer ELDs that also work as compliant AOBRDs.

It is the same device, and you can change it from ELD to AOBRD to ELD with just a few clicks in the web dashboard.

It’s a much better decision if you absolutely want the freedom and extra options for 2 more years, until December 16, 2019.

5. ELDs Must Be Registered

After December 18, 2017, only registered and certified ELDs would work.

You see, there are dozens of ELD providers that do not have certified ELDs. It’s a growing market, and everybody is trying to cash in.

However, if you buy unregistered ELDs, you will not be in compliance with the regulations.

Recently, in an address, the FMCSA reminded its safety inspectors that only registered devices could be considered ELDs. Uncertified or unregistered ELDs are not compliant and should be dealt like that.

Danielle Smith said:

“It is not an ELD unless it is listed on our website. That’s going to be part of what you do during an inspection; you are going to verify that it is a registered ELD.”

6. ELDs Connectivity is Crucial

Although we have discussed this a couple of times on our blog, it is such an important aspect of ELD compliance that it needs to be highlighted again.

BYOD-based ELD systems connect engine-connected vehicles with drivers’ mobile devices to sync information and display HOS/RODS information to DOT inspectors. However, the way engine-connected vehicles sync data with drivers’ mobile devices is extremely important.

There are three mediums of connectivity: cellular networks, Bluetooth connections, and USB.

The FMCSA has confirmed that you should not rely on cellular-based ELDs because that’s a compliance risk. If a driver is an area with no cellular coverage, the data won’t sync, and the driver will become noncompliant.

On the other hand, a Bluetooth or USB connection does not rely on a cellular network, which makes it more reliable and 100% compliant in all locations and scenarios.

7. OOS Enforcement Delay Does Not Offer Much Relief

In a recent announcement, the CVSA confirmed that the out-of-service criteria for the ELD rule would be implemented from April 1, 2018.

Some people took it as an equivalent of the ELD mandate implementation deadline getting delayed from December 18, 2017, to April 1, 2018. But that’s not true.

The ELD mandate implementation deadline is still December 18, 2017.

So what does the OOS enforcement delay change?

Basically, it does not change much. After December 18, 2017, if you do not have a compliant ELD installed in your vehicle, safety inspectors will cite and fine you as per their discretion.

However, the only difference is that they will not place you out of service until April 01, 2018.

8. Edits Require Driver’s Permission

Contrary to common belief, the upcoming ELD mandate empowers drivers by protecting their rights against driver coercion and driver harassment as well as by giving drivers the final authority over edits.

Carriers and fleet administrators can make edits to a driver’s driving time. However, the driver will have the final say by either accepting or rejecting the edit made by the carrier.

This is to ensure that drivers are not burdened with the driving time that they are not responsible for. Moreover, fleet managers cannot coerce drivers into driving beyond their Hours of Service regulations.

Furthermore, the ELD mandate also empowers drivers to file coercion complaints within 90 days of the incident. Drivers can use emails, chats, and ELD records as evidence. If carriers are found guilty, they can be handed a penalty of up to $11,000 in fines.

9. Unassigned Driving Time Must be Reconciled

One of the important points carriers and drivers needs to understand before the ELD rule becomes mandatory is the treatment of unassigned driving time.

You see, electronic logging devices record every mile a vehicle travels. That time is then assigned to drivers of that vehicle. In case a portion of the time isn’t assigned to anyone, it is marked as ‘unassigned driving time’ by the electronic logging device.

As a general rule, DoT inspectors do not like ‘unassigned driving time’. It is questionable under the ELD mandate.

Carriers need to reconcile unassigned driving time or assign it to drivers. However, as mentioned earlier, drivers have the authority to either accept or reject the assignment of time by the carrier.

It is to ensure that carriers do not coerce some drivers into driving more than they are supposed to and then assign unassigned driving time to other drivers against their will and without their knowledge.

10. ELD Adopting is Time Consuming

If you haven’t installed ELDs until now, you are already late.

You might not realize this, but the ELD adoption process can be very time-consuming. As a bare minimum, you’d need to do the following:

  •   Researching about different electronic logging devices in the market
  •   Evaluating different competitors
  •   Finding the most feature-rich and cost-effective ELD solution
  •   Finding its registration and compliance status
  •   Contacting the company and installing ELDs in all the vehicles you have (provided they have ELDs in stock)
  •   Training drivers and other staff members
  •   Doing a practice run for a couple of months to iron out any issues in your ELD and making sure that your drivers and fleet managers are familiar with the product and its various usages.

As you can guess, there isn’t much time for all of that.

However, you could still achieve most of it if you hurry up.

Make sure that you are not wasting any more time and starting the ELD installation process right now.

Use our free ELD features comparison and ELD price comparison charts to find the most cost-effective, feature-rich and 100% compliant electronic logging solution in the market.

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