It is here. The long-awaited ELD rule is finally mandatory for most commercial motor vehicle drivers. Starting today, commercial drivers who maintain paper logs would require electronic logging devices to record the necessary information electronically.
Let’s walk you through a few important details on the ELD mandate, its implementation, and the trucking industry after December 18, 2017.
Truckers without ELDs
Non-exempt truckers without electronic logging devices would be fined and cited. This was the message from the CVSA’s Executive Director, Collin Mooney, during his address a few months ago.
He said, “On December 18, enforcement begins. We will be writing violations, citations, and warnings. There is no delayed enforcement — we are not using the term soft enforcement at all.”
Although the FMCSA and the CVSA have taken a few steps to ensure a smooth transition, it is by no means a “soft enforcement.”
Earlier this year, the CVSA announced that vehicles without electronic logging devices wouldn’t be placed out of service until April 1, 2018. However, they will be cited and fined as per the safety inspector’s discretion. Later, the FMCSA followed it up by announcing that ELD violations also wouldn’t affect a carrier’s CSA scores until April 1.
All these steps are to ensure that the ELD implementation goes smoothly without impeding commerce.
After April 1, 2018, however, safety inspectors will put vehicles without ELDs out of service, and ELD violations will also affect CSA scores.
ELD mandate exemptions
The bottom line is that non-exempt truckers are now required to install electronic logging devices. A failure to do so would result in violations and fines. The ELD mandate applies to most commercial vehicle drivers. However, there are some exceptions, too.
Joe DeLorenzo, Director of the FMCSA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, simplified the ELD mandate. He said, “My summary, if you want to think about who needs an ELD, is if you are a driver that has to fill out a logbook, you need an ELD. That’s really what it comes down to.”
As mentioned earlier, the mandate applies to most drivers, but it does not apply to:
- Drivers who carry out driveaway-towaway operations
- Short-haul drivers
- Short-haul drivers who don’t fill out their paper logs for more than 8 days in a 30-day period
- Drivers who drive vehicles with pre-2000 engines
- Drivers who already installed compliant AOBRDs before December 18, 2017 (They have until December 16, 2019, to replace AOBRDs with ELDs)
Recently, the FMCSA has also granted a couple of temporary ELD mandate exemptions, e.g., a special 90-day ELD waiver to short-term rental trucks (defined as being rented out for 30 days or less).
Other than short-term truck rentals, livestock and ag haulers have also received a temporary 90-day exemption from the ELD mandate. The FMCSA is tackling the unique challenges that ag haulers face. The extra three months would help the FMCSA to come up with a more robust plan, and even some necessary changes to the hours-of-service regulations for ag haulers, to ensure a smooth ELD transition for them.
Short-haul fleets and electronic logging devices
As mentioned earlier, short-haul drivers are exempt from the ELD mandate. Despite this exemption, however, many short-haul fleets are installing electronic logging devices.
According to the FMCSA, short-haul drivers:
- Don’t drive for more than 11 hours
- Maintain a time-clock function
- Start and return to the same location within 12 hours of duty time
- Have 10 consecutive hours off duty between shifts
- Do not exceed the 100 air-mile radius from the starting position
If any of these conditions are not met for more than eight days in any 30-day period, they would require electronic logging devices.
As you can see, because of the very specific requirements, the short-haul exemption can be difficult to manage. As Joe DeLorenzo put it, “[You can’t] figure out on day eight or day nine of those 30 days that you needed to have a record of duty status and, therefore, have an ELD.”
Now that the ELD mandate has become mandatory, many short-haul drivers and fleet managers without ELDs would be struggling to plan their operations. However, fleets that have installed electronic logging devices would not be worrying about it at all.
For instance, Lindenmeyr Munroe is an independent paper and packaging distributor in the U.S. with over 160 trucks. Many of their truck drivers qualify for the short-haul exemption, but they have installed electronic logging devices across the fleet.
Matthew Mascia, Director of Corporate Transportation & Logistics, explained their reason for doing so. He said, “When the mandate came around, it kind of created the perfect storm for us to really sit down and talk about what we were going to do for our operating fleet.”
He further added, “Being a sales-driven organization, we are going to make our deliveries where our customers need us to. So if we didn’t have the ability or an unavailable driver, that would be unacceptable from a delivery perspective.”
This freedom and the capability to make deliveries based on their customers’ needs would allow Lindenmeyr Munroe to get ahead of the competition. While other businesses would be juggling their drivers to avail their short-haul exemption, Lindenmeyr Munroe would be able to complete deliveries on time.
Changes in load planning
The ELD mandate implementation would also affect how fleets plan their loads. Fleets who implemented ELDs before December 18, 2017 have confirmed that the strict enforcement of hours of service prompted them to be better at management and planning.
Jerry Harris, Gypsum Express’ Vice President, highlighted that the biggest challenge they had to face after switching to electronic logs was making sure that load planners always had tasks readily available for drivers.
He further added, “Too often, my planners were reactors. It [the use of ELDs] really forces you to plan. If they get up, start their clock, drive into our office and stand there for three hours while we figure out today’s game plan, we just wasted a third of their day. Really be cognizant of the clock running and not running.”
On the other hand, Lama Quinn, a General Manager from R.E. Garrison Trucking, echoed the same thoughts. He said, “This is not baseball; you don’t get three strikes. ELDs tell you where the ‘bad freight’ is. Planning is huge; we need to select the right freight, and we needed our sales team to educate our customers on proper lengths of haul. This changed our entire culture.”
Although they struggled with ELDs for a few days, the switch to e-logs eventually increased their driver productivity by 17%, which increased their weekly revenue per truck by 30%.
The ELD mandate is here. Installing compliant electronic logging devices is mandatory now. There are various benefits of using ELDs that carriers and truckers would be able to enjoy, e.g., minimizing fuel wastage, reducing paperwork, streamlining communication, decreasing administrative burdens, etc.
Call 844-325-9230 if you have any questions.