Trucking Industry Braces For ELD Mandate To Take Effect December 18, 2017

by Jana Ritter - Published: 10/30/2017

After years of protest and public debate, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is expected to go into effect on December 18, 2017 and the trucking industry is being advised to prepare for the potential impact it will have on many aspects of operations.

                                     ELD mandate

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The FMCSA says it’s taking a “phased approach” to rolling out the mandate, which means the requirements will be fully implemented immediately but violations will only be penalized by fines or citations during the initial period from December 18, 2017 to April 1, 2018. However, penalties for ELD violations incurred after April 1, 2018 could potentially result in forcing a commercial vehicle to be put out of service and this would not only affect the carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) value but also significantly impact the carrier’s insurability.

Another important item to note is that the ELD mandate will not immediately apply to all drivers. Those currently using a compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) may continue to do so until December 2019 and drivers who aren’t currently required by regulation to complete driver logs for more than 8 days during a month may continue to use paper logs. Other exceptions of those allowed to continue using paper logs are drivers of trucks manufactured before 2000 and drivers who provide drive-away-tow-away services.

Several groups and companies have also been requesting exemptions from the EDL mandate for drivers who mostly operate in short-haul conditions. The most recent exemption requests include the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Western Equipment Dealers Association (WEDA) on behalf of itself and seven other agriculture equipment dealer associations. Another group, The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), representing several livestock haulers and one of the nation’s largest intermodal fleets has also requested an exemption based on what it calls “an incompatibility” between federal hours of operation rules and how the livestock industry actually operates. The request states “livestock haulers are not and will not be prepared to meet the Dec. 18 compliance date because, in part, the current ELD marketplace doesn’t meet the needs of livestock haulers.”

However not everyone in the industry opposes the mandate. According to a recent survey conducted by DAT, 39 percent of carriers and owner-operators are planning to comply with the mandate before the deadline and another 9 percent already have.

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