Easter eggs and ELD compliance

This Sunday will bring Easter church services and hunts for multicolored, candy-filled eggs. It will also bring the enforcement deadline for Electronic Logging Devices.

On April 1, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with an Electronic Logging Device (ELD), according to a statement by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

The CVSA began enforcing ELD mandate requirements on December 18, 2017.

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD rule – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is meant to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.

“An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording,” the FMCSA website says.

For the lowdown on the pros and cons of ELDs, as well as what the ELD mandate could mean for the trucking industry, click here.

Hefty penalties

Since December, the penalties for ELD noncompliance have amounted to a slap on the hand. Inspectors have had discretion when it comes to writing citations.

According to Jon Dierberger, FMCSA field supervisor, “A driver found after the mandate’s implementation, Dec. 18, but before April 1, with no ELD or compliant AOBRD (automatic onboard recording device) will be cited for having no log, but it will have no impact on the associated motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System ranking.”

However, on April 1, carriers not equipped with ELDs will be placed out of service, along with the driver, and will remain out of service for 10 hours. To facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop, but should not be dispatched again without being equipped with an ELD.

Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA Office of Compliance and Enforcement, claims the transition from using Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs), paper logs, and other logging software to ELDs is going smoothly.

He said the agency has noticed a “steadily increasing” ELD compliance rate of 96 percent.

“Of all the inspections that have been done, only 4 percent of those inspections have been vehicles that have been cited for not having an ELD when required,” DeLorenzo said.

It would appear that the trucking industry is adjusting well to the ELD requirements. However, some carriers retain waivers or exemptions to this ELD rule, at least for now.

Who's exempt?

Those in agriculture-related transportation get an Easter gift: a temporary waiver from ELD requirements.

FMCSA has announced an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture-related transportation. This 90-day waiver comes after another ag waiver expired March 18.

Because the ag industry transports live commodities, they require special consideration when it comes to ELD compliance.

“The point of issuing that 90-day waiver is for us to really continue to work on our outreach communication with the ag community to make sure they have the fullest understanding that they can of the rule and all of the requirements of the regulation,” DeLorenzo said during a March 13 telephone news conference.

FMCSA also granted the Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) a 90-day waiver on January 19 for property-carrying trucks rented for 30 days or fewer, according to a post in the Federal Register.

In their request, TRALA, who represents companies whose members lease and rent commercial motor vehicles, claimed it needs until the end of 2018 to fully address ELD issues experienced by its short-term lessors.

One issue TRALA faces is that ELD platforms are unable to exchange information. If one fleet uses a certain ELD system but the rental company uses another, TRALA claims it’s impossible to reconcile the information without constructing new systems, which could cost both time and money.

Other carriers seem to be exempt from the ELD rule for good. For example:

  • Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.


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