After years of legal battles, speculations, and anticipation, the ELD mandate is almost here. The compliance deadline is December 18, 2017. However, some truckers and carriers still need work to do to comply with the upcoming ELD rule.

According to a recent estimate, nearly one million truckers are still without electronic logging devices.

As the compliance deadline grows closer, carriers, truckers, and law enforcers prepare for the upcoming ELD mandate. Carriers are rushing to buy compliant electronic logging devices, but the sudden increase in demand might create a few difficulties for late adopters.

According to Clem Driscoll, a telematics industry analyst, most large fleets would be compliant with the electronic logging device mandate before December 18, 2017, but some smaller trucking companies might not make it in time.

He said, “I think some will still be scrambling at the end of December and may not make it.”

It is because industry experts recommend that carriers should buy ELDs at least eight to 12 weeks before the compliance deadline. The extra couple of weeks are to ensure that manufacturers can deliver the devices in time. Moreover, carriers can make sure that their drivers and fleet managers are familiar with how ELDs operate before they become mandatory.

That might not be possible for a trucking company that buys electronic logging devices at the eleventh hour.

Kirk Altrichter, Vice President of Fleet Services at Kenan Advantage Group, said, “It is not like walking into Circuit City on December 17 and just buying whatever you want.”

A possible shortage of ELD supply is one of the biggest concerns in the trucking industry at the moment. Because of this threat, many late adopters aren’t likely to get electronic logging devices in time.

ELD implementation

LaTonya Mimms, the transportation specialist at the FMCSA, also recently discussed ELD implementation at the WIT annual conference. She encouraged drivers to start using electronic logging devices before December 18, 2017, so they can familiarize themselves with ELDs and compare how much time they are going to save with ELDs as opposed to how much they spend recording their hours on paper logs.

“I encourage people to take advantage of this during Phase 1 because it gives the driver the opportunity to get used to their device … Start now. Find an ELD on the list.” she suggested.

During the WIT annual conference, LaTonya Mimms also clarified the issue of nominal violations. She said, “We understand that the ELD is going to record Hours of Service by the nanosecond and, therefore, the driver can exceed the Hours of Service by a minute. It’s a violation. It’s not a serious violation; that’s why we have the nominal Hours of Service violation to keep a record of that driver going over the Hours of Service.”

Apart from carriers and truckers buying electronic logging devices, safety enforcement agencies and safety inspectors are also preparing for the upcoming ELD rule.

A smoother ELD transition

A few changes have also been announced by the FMCSA and the CVSA to ensure a smoother ELD transition.

  1. According to a CVSA’s announcement earlier this year, vehicles without ELDs won’t be placed out of service until April 1, 2018. They will be, however, cited and fined.
  2. The FMCSA recently announced that ELD violations won’t affect carriers’ CSA scores until April 1, 2018.
  3. The FMCSA has also issued a 90-day ELD exemption to ag and livestock haulers.

According to Joe DeLorenzo, the head of the office of enforcement and compliance at the FMCSA, “What [the 90-day waiver] will allow us to do is consider their situation in terms of hours-of-service. First, it will allow us the time to consider the exemption request that has been filed on behalf of the industry, and the second thing the waiver will allow us to do is [to] publish another guidance document that will be published for comment so we can hear from the industry.”

The FMCSA will soon provide additional guidance related to enforcement procedures during the ELD transition, including exemption details, Hours of Service information, and personal conveyance.

Joe DeLorenzo said, “We are going to publish some sort of content on personal conveyance to explain to the industry our interpretation of when a movement by drivers isn’t subject to the Hours of Service regulations. What this guidance will do is provide clarity and consistency across the industry.”

Do you need to comply?

The ELD mandate applies to most commercial drivers. However, there are some exceptions. The FMCSA’s ELD rule does not apply to drivers, who:

  • Drive vehicles with pre-2000 engines
  • Carry out driveaway-towaway operations
  • Qualify for the short-haul exception and do not have to fill out paper logs for more than eight days in a 30-day period
  • Use compliant AOBRDs

There are a few important points to note here.

Although short-haul drivers are exempt from the ELD mandate, many are still installing electronic logging devices. As the eight-day short-haul exemption can be tricky to plan for, short-haul fleets don’t want to feel handicapped after the ELD mandate becomes mandatory.

As per the “grandfather clause,” drivers with compliant AOBRDs have until December 16, 2019, to install electronic logging devices. Because of this extension, some truckers and carriers are now purchasing AOBRDs. However, they will have to replace the devices with compliant ELDs before December 16, 2019.

Buying two different devices and going through the same processes again — screening different devices, implementation, and training — don’t make a lot of sense. It would be an administrative and financial burden for carriers and drivers.

On the other hand, the Motive ELD can be used as an ELD or AOBRD. With just a few clicks, users can operate the Motive ELD as an AOBRD or a fully compliant electronic logging device.

Note: In order to qualify for the grandfather clause, Motive ELDs must be installed and activated as AOBRDS before December 18, 2017.

What’s next?

The preparations are almost finished. Safety enforcement agencies and thousands of carriers and truck drivers are fully prepared for the upcoming ELD mandate.

Are you ready?

As the compliance deadline grows closer, there could be some panic. It is crucial to install a compliant ELD solution before that.

Request a free ELD demo today to start your compliance journey.