Reminder: the ELD mandate is almost here. It is just two months away now.
Fleets that haven’t installed ELDs yet are bound to face a lot of troubles now as ELD’s supply is expected to run dry.
This blog post is to serve as a timely reminder that the ELD mandate is just 60 days away from now, and truckers without ELDs have a lot to do. Let us start by first recapping the ELD mandate for you.
ELD mandate is a federal rule published by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in December 2015. The rule requires most commercial vehicles — apart from a few exceptions — to install ELDs (electronic logging devices) by December 18, 2017.
Until the compliance deadline (December 18) fleets are using electronic logging devices on a voluntary basis. They have been getting familiarized with how ELDs work, which documents drivers must carry, what data to backup, and how to use the data and insights that ELDs provide.
That voluntary implementation phase is going to be over in the next two months.
Moreover, the ELD mandate applies to most commercial drivers. However, it does not apply to everyone.
It is important to first check the various ELD exemptions. If it does not apply to you, you don’t have to worry about the impending compliance deadline. However, if it does, you have a lot to do then.
The ELD mandate does not apply to you if:
For exemption #1, it is to be noted that the pre-2000 vehicle refers to pre-2000 engines and not the VIN numbers. It means if you have a vehicle manufactured in the year 2001, but if it uses a 1999 engine, the ELD rule doesn’t apply to you.
On the contrary, if you drive a vehicle that was manufactured before the year 2000 but has a post-2000 engine, you are subject to the ELD rule.
Earlier, there was some confusion as the FMCSA never clearly defined the pre-2000 exemption. However, now the FMCSA has clarified the confusions by explicitly mentioning that the pre-2000 exemption applies to engines, not the VINs.
Once you have successfully determined whether or not you need an ELD, let’s move on to the next big thing.
The ELD mandate has had a tricky road with lots of bumps. OOIDA was at the forefront in trying to either delay or altogether repeal the ELD mandate. However, OOIDA has lost almost its battles by now.
Currently, the ELD mandate is facing no hurdles. There are no pending court cases against the mandate, and now Congress has also voted in favor of it.
In other words, the final ELD rule is all set to take effect from December 18, 2017.
As you can see, there is now no reason to delay the ELD implementation process. However, there are several reasons to rush.
Complying with the federal regulations and keeping your compliance record intact is obviously the biggest motivation here. Besides, two months isn’t a lot of time.
In fact, fleets that haven’t installed ELDs by now can already consider themselves late. It is because the ELD mandate is less than 8 weeks away now, but it is recommended to install ELDs at least 12-14 weeks before the deadline.
There is no guarantee that you will be able to purchase ELDs this close to the deadline. Because the competition to install the best ELD solution has already begun among motor carriers.
And very recently, a situation pertaining to the shortage of high-density memory chips — that are planted in ELDs — has come to light.
ELD manufacturers are in trouble producing high-density memory chips in bulk in the given time. This inability is directly affecting the delivery-time commitments of ELD vendors. If the situation continues, there is a possibility that you might not get your promised ELDs by December 18, 2017.
That would render you noncompliant.
Therefore, you must start the ELD implementation process as soon as possible and get ELDs while you can.
As you must know, not every ELD system on the market is 100% compliant. In fact, many ELD solutions aren’t even in the FMCSA’s list of certified ELDs.
Fleets that installed ELDs months ago had the luxury to carefully screen different ELD vendors. They tried demos, researched about different ELD companies and ELD solutions, and chose the best option available.
However, as the deadline grows closer, latecomers won’t have this flexibility.
Because of the ELD shortage, carriers would be happy to just find an ELD solution, let alone screen it for its compliance status.
As a result, they might end up with a noncompliant ELD solution which won’t do them any good. They’d have to replace the ELD within eight days.
Operating without an ELD post the deadline is also a financial threat. The ELD mandate makes it clear that all motor carriers would pay penalties if discovered non-compliant after December 18, 2017.
Law enforcement personnel will be out everywhere to identify and penalize eligible vehicles without compliant ELD solutions.
Practice makes a man perfect — especially when it comes to getting accustomed to new technology.
If you do not know everything about operating ELDs, you will make mistakes later when they become legal offenses.
To evade these mistakes and avoid operational hiccups, you need to install ELDs as soon as possible and do a few test runs to help your drivers and fleet managers familiarize themselves with ELDs.
When you are conducting fleet management operations without ELDs, you are leaving a lot of dollars on the table. There are many ELD benefits that you would identify when you start using these devices.
ELDs drastically reduce fuel consumption with efficient route management, GPS, and idle-time tracking. They also save time and increase productivity by automating logs. This gives drivers more time to drive, fleet managers more time to plan, and motor carriers more time to grow their businesses.
Moreover, since after installing ELDs, you won’t be paying hefty fines and penalties, you could probably add that as well to the amount of money you’d save your company with ELDs.
Regarding ELD penalties and fines for not complying with the ELD mandate, there’s another important point to discuss, i.e., the out-of-service criteria enforcement delay until April 01, 2018.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has decided to adopt a phased-in approach towards non-compliant vehicles and motor carriers. Therefore, It has delayed the enforcement of the out-of-service criteria until April 01, 2018.
According to CVSA, a phased-in approach, “will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers, and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new requirement before vehicles are placed out of service for ELD violations.”
But be mindful that the delay in out-of-service criteria doesn’t free any non-compliant vehicle from the fine set by the FMCSA.
Contrary to common belief, ELDs are easily affordable.
While there are some ELD providers that are charging exorbitant fees, there are also some that charge only a nominal monthly fees without any additional charges.
To help you choose the best, most cost-effective ELD solution on the market, we have designed a couple of free tools. Use our ELD price comparison and ELD feature comparison tools to find the perfect ELD system for your company.