When the federal ELD mandate became effective in December of 2019, the intent was that all states would’ve enacted the mandate into their own state laws. To date, all states have adopted the mandate. ELD solutions are in place for drivers and fleets that know they are subject to the federal mandate, but at a state level, enforcement is inconsistent.

California’s ELD enforcement era began in October 2018

One state where the laws are most definitely being enforced is California. California codified the FMCSA’s ELD mandate for interstate truckers in August 2018, and enforcement began in October of that year. Before that time, inspectors had been checking driver logs and Hours of Service compliance the old-fashioned way. Those days are long since over.

Motive’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Travis Baskin, spoke with officials at the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Sacramento in October 2018. Baskin was informed that officers were trained and were ready to enforce the law in California.

“Because of complicated legal procedures, California’s laws did not include the ELD regulations until late 2018. That meant that the state didn’t have a legal basis to give citations or violations related to ELDs. Lots of folks that ran most of their miles in California got used to not using ELDs; even if they were supposed to, they were able to risk it. Since the law has been updated, they now have to plug in and connect.” — Travis Baskin, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Motive.

The CHP is actively enforcing the mandate. Noncompliance can result in trucks being placed immediately out of service.

ELD violations affect driver scores

It’s important to remember that the FMCSA updated the CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) with new ELD violations and violation severity weights.

Even though California has been actively enforcing the ELD mandate for interstate truckers, those drivers may not be aware of these updated ELD violations. Non-exempt truckers would still require an FMCSA-registered electronic logging device.

In addition to the ELD mandate, California truckers need to follow the intrastate rules for the state, including:

  • Drivers are not allowed to drive more than 12 hours during a work period
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive after the 16th consecutive hour from first coming On-Duty
  • 10 consecutive hours Off-Duty are required to reset for a new work period
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive after having been On-Duty 80 hours in any 8 consecutive day period
  • The 8th day cumulative total may be reset to zero with the beginning of any Off-Duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours (34-hour restart)

Furthermore, California has one of the largest numbers of intrastate drivers in America. Intrastate drivers are those which operate only in one state. As of this writing, there is no California intrastate regulation. The Federal HOS rule has not yet gone into effect and is unrelated to meal-and-rest breaks.

Most Companies are complying with the federal mandate

When it comes to interstate drivers who are subject to the federal ELD mandate, most are in compliance. A recent survey conducted by Freightwaves showed that less than one percent of trucking companies have yet to comply with the new federal rules. This high rate of compliance is due primarily to the statements by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which stated that there would be no soft enforcement of the mandate.

Trucks not complying are immediately placed out-of-service for 10 hours for failing to have a record of duty status. No data is available yet as to how many vehicles have actually been placed out of service, but so far, it appears that the enforcement is producing the desired effect.

What fleets and drivers need to know about ELD enforcement

The important thing for drivers and fleet managers to remember is that enforcement is active, and the prospects of lost time and lost income aren’t worth the risk.

The right ELD compliance solution will not only keep you on the right side of the law, but it could also save you time and money. Here are a few features to look for when you choose an ELD:

Alerts. The ELD should alert the driver before it’s time to take a required break so that your driver can keep his or her attention on the road. The alert provides your driver with time to seek out a suitable location to rest. An even bigger benefit is that an advance alert reduces the chance that your driver will miss the required break and fall out of compliance. Missing a break could result in a violation and subsequent damage to the carrier’s CSA score.

  • Automatic log auditing. Stay in the know with automatic HOS notifications. Possible HOS violations are highlighted to notify managers and drivers.
  • Connectivity. The best ELDs keep your drivers in compliance by keeping logs updated even in remote locations that have spotty or no cellular service.
  • Inspection reports. You want ELDs that generate daily electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) and alert the fleet of any defects.
  • IFTA reports. A great ELD automatically calculates the distances driven and fuel purchased by jurisdiction, making IFTA reporting easy and accurate.

If you’re subject to a mandate, you need an ELD. The best ELD products are easy to use and loved by drivers, and have driver-friendly features like instant messaging, in-cab WiFi and, of course, 24/7 customer support.

Choose the solution that will best support your fleet and drivers.

Read: California smog check rules for fleet vehicles.

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