On December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate will be enforced. That’s less than three months from now.
Because the ELD mandate has survived an onslaught of legal attacks over the previous months, representatives from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) strongly believe that its implementation deadline is pretty much final.
According to the Executive Director of the CVSA, Collin Mooney:
“It’s almost negligible at this point that [the ELD mandate] will be delayed.”
Law enforcers and government agencies are expecting carriers and owner-operators to have already started complying with the ELD mandate and to be in the final stages of their preparation for the upcoming deadline.
The final ELD mandate ruling was released to the public in December 2015, nearly two years ago. Therefore, motor carriers should have had enough time to equip their fleets with the mandated devices.
As what Duane DeBruyne, the Spokesperson of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), said:
“Nobody can say they didn’t know this day was coming.”
Because the CVSA is responsible for the nationwide enforcement of the ELD mandate, the alliance is currently scrambling to ensure that law enforcers are well-equipped to tackle the mandate’s fast-approaching implementation date.
The CVSA estimates around 13,000 safety inspectors would be having their training for the enforcement of the ELD mandate in late October or early November of this year.
According to Mooney, the FMCSA is currently using a “train-the-trainer format” for this year’s enforcement training.
The participants will consist of law-enforcement jurisdiction representatives who would be receiving this kind of training upfront and would then be tasked to trickle this information back to their respective jurisdiction’s safety enforcers.
Aside from this, there have been other tools and activities that are hosted by the FMCSA (such as training events and online materials) to help drivers and motor carriers prepare for the upcoming ELD implementation deadline.
One of these is an ELD online file checker tool uploaded to the FMCSA’s website.
The file checker tool gives both carriers and ELD manufacturers the opportunity to confirm if the output files of their ELDs are compliant with the mandate’s technical standards.
Another is an ELD implementation outreach tour recently launched by the FMCSA to serve as a nationwide educational program.
According to DeBruyne, all of the FMCSA’s activities were scheduled to aid the entire trucking industry in transitioning its operations to proper ELD mandate enforcement and compliance.
These are the outreach tour’s upcoming dates and locations:
The ELD mandate stood firm despite the multiple attempts that were made by opponent trucking groups and associations to have it either delayed or repealed.
One of which was a petition that was raised by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to have the mandate declared null and void on the grounds that the regulation was against driver privacy rights.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their petition in October 2016, which prompted OOIDA to take the case to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court refused to hear the OOIDA’s ELD mandate case, effectively blocking the association from continuing its legal pursuit.
In addition, there have also been other attempts by OOIDA-backed lawmakers in the Congress to come up with bills that went against the ELD mandate. One of which was an amendment to the 2018 House Appropriations Bill that was recently introduced by Texas Representative Brian Babin.
The amendment sought to have the USDOT’s funding for the enforcement of the ELD mandate restricted until September 30, 2018. However, this proposed amendment failed because Congress lawmakers voted 246-173 against the deferral of the ELD mandate.
Another recently introduced bill is the “H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017” proposed by Representative Babin last July 18. The bill is supported by members of the OOIDA.
The bill seeks to amend the language used in 49 U.S.C. § 31137(b)(1)(C) to extend the ELD mandate’s implementation deadline from two years after its final ruling to four years.
This proposed extension would move the enforcement date to December 2019, instead.
This bill is currently stationed at the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, with no Congressional movement ever since its first introduction.
However, the American Trucking Association (ATA) strongly disagrees with the actions of those against the ELD mandate to have its implementation date delayed. As such, Bill Sullivan, the ATA’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy, wrote a letter to Daphne Jefferson, FMCSA’s deputy administrator, saying:
“At the end of the day, I believe the implicit reason opponents of electronic logging oppose this regulation is because they intend to cheat on their hours-of-service.…Arguments against the ELD mandate are arguments in favor of violating the hours-of-service rules.”
Sullivan asserted that opponents of the electronic logging device are not being entirely honest with their motives on why they really want the mandate revoked.
“Supporters of a delay are attempting to accomplish, almost at the 11th hour, what they’ve been unable to do in the courts, Congress or with the agency: roll back this common sense, data-supported regulation based on at best specious and at worst outright dishonest arguments.”
Sullivan also adds:
“Suggesting that it is overly burdensome to use an electronic device to log compliance with hours-of-service rules that don’t change whatsoever in December is a false argument.”
According to a letter recently sent by Mooney to Jefferson, the CVSA plans on delaying the enforcement of the out-of-service criteria (OOSC) of the ELD mandate until April 01, 2018.
This extension means that truck drivers who still aren’t compliant with the ELD mandate would not be given out-of-service orders once the deadline hits, giving them some leeway to transition to ELDs.
Mooney, in his letter, explains:
“In order to ease the transition and to help those motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement, CVSA has elected to begin applying the out-of-service criteria (OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate on April 1, 2018. Setting a new April 1, 2018 effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods.”
However, even with the extension of the OOSC enforcement date, any violations made against the ELD mandate would still be documented and non-compliant drivers could still be fined for citations.
“I also want to assure you that, despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirement on Dec. 18, 2017. On that date, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD.”
In line with this, spokesperson DeBruyne also recently mentioned:
“After Dec. 18, 2017, if you don’t have an AOBRD or ELD the violation will be cited, and a driver could be fined, but they won’t be put out of service. Companies that continually violate the rule could be subject to federal investigation as well.”
Mooney explained that truck drivers who are not compliant with the ELD mandate could get their carriers charged with violation points added to their current safety score.
The safety score is based on the measures employed by the FMCSA’s CSA program.
Drivers given citations for non-compliance could be slapped with hefty fines that could easily amount to more than $100. According to state officials, Colorado’s non-compliance fine is set at $67, Delaware’s at $110, and Missouri’s at $172.
Because ELDs would prevent driver fatigue and enforce Hours-of-Service regulations, the FMCSA estimates that the ELD mandate would help save about 26 lives per year and prevent about 1844 crashes and 562 injuries annually.
However, despite all the benefits that electronic logging devices bring, a report that was recently released by IBISWorld still showed that majority of the 3.5 million trucks in the country still do not have ELDs installed in them.
With only a few weeks left before the implementation of the ELD mandate, we highly recommend that you start equipping your fleets with ELDs as early as today.
If you are still using paper logs to comply with the hours-of-service regulations, allow us to help you with your transition towards staying compliant with the ELD mandate.
And as always, stay tuned for the latest trucking trends and happenings, only here at ELD Mandate Facts.