ELD (Electronic Logging Device) Final Rule: September 2017 Update

As the December 17th compliance date looms closer, the ELD debate is far from over. Although we are less than four months away, many carriers are still holding out hope that the rule will be pushed back another two years. Although experts agree this definitely won’t be happening, a recent update from the CVSA has sparked more discussion, along with a dash of confusion, about the deadline. Keep reading to learn more about that.

What’s the rule, again?

In case the details are fuzzy, here is a quick reminder on the ELD final rule:

As of December 17th, 2017, any commercial vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds with a model year of 2000 or newer is required to be equipped with an FMCSA-approved ELD. There is a major exception for vehicles that are already equipped with an AOBRD (automatic on-board recording device) before the December 2017 deadline; if this applies to you, you have until December 2019 to switch out your AOBRDs for ELDs.

CVSA says no carriers will be placed out of service until April 1st, 2018

On August 25th, the Executive Director of the CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) published a letter to the FMCSA that included an interesting update on ELD enforcement:

“I also want to assure you that, despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirement on Dec. 18, 2017. On that date, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD.

In order to ease the transition and to help those motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement, CVSA has elected to begin applying the out-of-service criteria (OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate on April 1, 2018. Setting a new April 1, 2018 effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods. However, on April 1, 2018, non-compliant drivers will be placed out of service.”

There has been a bit of confusion surrounding this update, as some people have been circulating that the compliance date has been pushed to April 1. Unfortunately for those carriers who have not yet installed ELDs, that is not quite true. You are still required, by law, to have a compliant ELD installed and functioning by December 17th. This new announcement does not mean that the compliance date has been pushed back. If you are found to be operating without an ELD after December 17th, but before April 1st, 2018, you still run the risk of being issued a citation. However, you will not be immediately placed out of service, as was the original plan. If you are caught without an ELD after April 1st, though, you will be placed out of service.

Why the change?

This update really doesn’t come as a surprise. Since last year, Morgan Stanley has been conducting a quarterly survey on ELD compliance. According to the most recent results, 52% of small carriers (who have less than 100 trucks) are not yet ELD compliant. Based on these survey results, since the market is almost completely made up of small carriers, it’s reasonable to assume that only about half of trucking companies are compliant at this point. With so many carriers not yet compliant, immediately jumping into placing non-compliant carriers out of service could have a huge impact on capacity. It seems that the CVSA is aware of this and implementing the new OOS date as a way to try to avoid this impact. They understand the huge effect it could have on the market.

Conclusion

As always, any carrier who actively hauls for Trinity is expected to comply with all legal rules and regulations, including the ELD rule. In order to comply with the ELD rule, carriers should have compliant ELDs installed by December 17th, not April 1st.

We will continue to update you if any more new information about the ELD ruling comes to light.