Carriers Truckers and the FMCSA Prepare for the ELD Mandate Implementation
Carriers, Truckers, and the FMCSA Prepare for the ELD Mandate Implementation

The final ELD rule is going to take effect in two weeks. Despite speculations, legal battles, and uncertainties that the ELD mandate underwent on so many occasions, it is all set to be implemented this month.

After the ELD mandate becomes mandatory, carriers and law enforcement will see a big change in the way they carry out their day-to-day operations. Motor carriers will have an independent device to automatically record their hours-of-service, whereas safety officials will have a quick inspection flow while obtaining data from ELDs.

Scott Sutarik, Associate Vice President of Commercial Vehicle Solutions at Geotab said, “ELDs will change the way drivers interact with fleets’ back offices and with law enforcement. It’s going to be a transition, not only for drivers but also for fleets’ planners and safety managers.”

However, despite the fact that the compliance deadline is just around the corner, many fleets are still without compliant electronic logging devices.

Clem Driscoll, a telematics analyst and the founder of C.J. Driscoll & Associates, says that most large fleets would be compliant with the ELD mandate before December 18, 2017, but some smaller trucking companies might not.

“I think some will still be scrambling at the end of December and may not make it.”

His prediction is based on a survey that his firm did earlier this year. The survey questioned 255 motor carriers out of which 66% were still using paper logs. More than 33% participants said that they would install ELDs in the last quarter of the year, i.e., close to the deadline and not before.

On the other hand, experts suggest that carriers should install ELDs at least 8-12 weeks before the final ELD deadline so that they can familiarize themselves with how the devices work before the ELD rule becomes mandatory.

Also, they maintain that close to the compliance deadline — when there would be a rush to find and install ELDs — carriers may end up buying non-compliant devices. It could happen because not all electronic logging devices in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs are 100% compliant.

Moreover, there is also a possibility of an ELD supply shortage.

Kirk Altrichter emphasizes the importance of timely ELD implementation. He said, “It is not like walking into Circuit City on December 17 and just buying whatever you want.”

Altrichter is the vice president of Fleet Services at Kenan Advantage Group that has recently transitioned to using elogs.

He also highlighted the various benefits of electronic logging devices: “Carriers that already do a good job of operating within HOS limits actually could see productivity gains with ELDs.”

ELD Compliance Criteria

Some drivers are not sure whether or not they fall under the ELD mandate — especially short-haul truckers who sometimes operate out of the short-haul limit.

The ELD mandate applies to those short-haul drivers who have to keep logs for more than 8 days in a 30-day period.

Note: Note that the 30-day period does not refer to a month. It’s a rolling 30-day period, e.g., from November 16 to December 16.

For simplicity’s sake, if a driver has to maintain paper logs, he/she would require a compliant electronic logging device by December 18, 2017.

There are also a few more ELD mandate exemptions. For instance, the ELD mandate doesn’t apply to:

According to the ELD mandate, drivers with AOBRDs have until December 16, 2019, to install electronic logging devices. It is also known as the “grandfather” clause.

Some truckers are installing AOBRDs to extend the ELD mandate compliance deadline by two more years. However, they would have to install new devices within 24 months — which seems like an additional financial burden.

To make things easy for carriers, several ELD vendors are offering a two-in-one device that can operate as an ELD as well as an AOBRD — depending on your choice.

BigRoad and KeepTruckin are two big names that are offering such a hybrid solution. To learn more, read ELD or AOBRD — KeepTruckin Lets You Choose.

ELD Enforcement

To ensure a smooth ELD transition without impeding commerce, the FMCSA has also made a few big announcements in the last few weeks.

First, the FMCSA has confirmed that ELD violations won’t affect a carrier’s CSA scores until April 1, 2018. This announcement was made after the CVSA had confirmed that vehicles without compliant electronic logging devices wouldn’t be placed out of service until April 1, 2018.

Regarding these changes and making the ELD implementation easier for carriers, the Collin Mooney, the Executive Director of the CVSA, said: “We’re hopeful that by the time April 1 rolls around, a lot of the fears will subside.”

Last week, the FMCSA also granted a temporary 90-day ELD waiver to ag haulers. It was also announced that the FMCSA would soon provide additional ELD transition guidance, including more details on the ag-haulers exemption and hours-of-service regulations. The agency will also provide guidance related to Personal Conveyance.

Joe DeLorenzo said, “We are going to publish some sort of contents on personal conveyance to explain to the industry our interpretation of when a movement by drivers isn’t subject to the hours-of-service regulations. What this guidance will do is provide clarity and consistency across the industry.”

The BottomLine

As of now, most of the ELD mandate preparations are done. The FMCSA has made the changes it wanted to make. Now, it is up to carriers and non-exempt commercial drivers to install compliant electronic logging devices and get ready for the final ELD rule.

The compliance deadline is December 18, 2017. Make sure you’re fully prepared.

If you are still looking for a compliant and reliable ELD solution, check out our free ELD features comparison and ELD price comparison tools.

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