The final ELD rule was published by the FMCSA in 2015. Now the compliance deadline for the ELD mandate is just 60 days from now.
According to the ELD mandate, most commercial drivers would require FMCSA-certified electronic logging devices after December 18, 2017. The era of using paper logs to record Hours-of-Service and Record of Duty Status (RODS) information is over. After December 18, 2017, all that information would be automatically recorded by engine-connected ELDs.
We wrote this blog post as a reminder that if you haven’t installed ELDs yet, you only have 60 days. And, without any doubt, there is a lot to do.
Let’s take it from the top.
The ELD Mandate Isn’t Getting Delayed
First of all, there were a lot of rumors that the ELD mandate would get delayed.
As you must know by now, there are almost no chances of the ELD mandate getting delayed.
OOIDA made several attempts in the U.S. courts to delay and repeal the ELD mandate, but all those attempts were in vain. OOIDA also filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Seventh Circuit of Courts ruled in favor of the ELD rule, but even that didn’t work. The Supreme Court denied the rehearing petition and ended OOIDA’s legal battle.
After that, a couple of bills were introduced in the Congress that would have delayed the ELD rule. One of those bills was introduced by the U.S. Representative Brian Babin which would have delayed the ELD mandate until at least September 30, 2018. However, Congress voted 246-173 against the amendment.
It cannot be clearer that the ELD mandate is all set to take effect from December 18, 2017. Instead of speculating and wasting valuable time on rumors, fleets should start preparing for the upcoming ELD rule.
Otherwise, after December 18, 2017, drivers without ELDs would face heavy fines and penalties. It would not only disturb your company’s trucking operations, but the failure to install to ELDs in time would also result in losing customers and lagging behind in a competitive trucking industry.
Do You Need ELDs?
Now that we have established that the ELD mandate is not going to be delayed let’s briefly discuss its various exemptions.
You see, although the final ELD rule applies to most commercial motor vehicles and drivers, it does not apply to everyone. There are certain exceptions, and if you qualify for any of these exceptions, you would not require electronic logging devices.
Here are the four major exemptions of the ELD mandate:
- Driveaway-towaway drivers would not require electronic logging devices.
- Short-haul drivers who don’t have to maintain RODS would not require electronic logging devices.
- Sometimes, short-haul drivers exceed their short-haul limitation and, therefore, are required to maintain RODS. If they only exceed the short-haul limitation for less than 8 days in any 30-day period, they would not require ELDs.
- Vehicles with pre-2000 engines do not require electronic logging devices.
There are two important points to note here:
Earlier, there was some confusion about the exemption related to the pre-2000 vehicles. Since the FMCSA wasn’t entirely clear about the exemption, some people thoughts that vehicles manufactured before the year 2000 would be exempt. On the other hand, others believed that the exemption applied to the model year of the engine, not the body of the vehicle.
There is no confusion anymore. The FMCSA has confirmed that the exemption applies to the engine of the vehicle.
In other words, vehicles equipped with engines with the model year 1999 (or earlier) are no longer subject to the ELD rule, regardless of the truck’s model year. Similarly, vehicles with post-2000 engine models would be subject to the ELD mandate, despite being equipped on trucks with VINs older than 2000.
Apart from the pre-2000 exemption, the short-haul exemption is also a tricky one.
Although short-haul drivers are not required to have ELDs, many fleets are installing them anyway. This is because it could be difficult for fleets to precisely predict if their drivers would be driving beyond the short-haul limitations for more than 8 days in a 30-day period.
You can’t decide on the 7th day that you are going to need an ELD.
To be on the safe side, short-haul fleets are installing electronic logging devices. By doing so, they don’t have to worry about their drivers driving beyond the limitations defined by the short-haul regulations.
Besides, short-haul fleets that equip their vehicles with electronic logging devices enjoy the various benefits of ELDs. For example, reducing fuel wastage with the idle-time tracking feature, improving fleet’s safety by monitoring dangerous driving behaviors, reducing administrative burden with automated IFTA calculations, a streamline communication system, vehicle diagnostics, and proactive vehicle and driver alerts.
What is the OOS Criteria Enforcement Delay?
In the last few weeks, you must have heard about the OOS criteria enforcement delay.
Let’s quickly recap it, so there’s no confusion.
In order to give fleets a bit more peace of mind, the CVSA decided on a phased-in approach for implementing the ELD mandate.
In short, the out-of-service (OOS) criteria enforcement delay means that if an eligible vehicle does not have an FMCSA-certified ELD after December 18, 2017, it would not be placed out of service.
However, this does not mean that it won’t be fined either.
Drivers who do not comply with the ELD rule after the implementation deadline (December 18, 2017) would be cited and fined as per the road inspector’s discretion. The only difference is that they won’t be placed out of service until April 01, 2018.
After April 01, 2018, safety inspectors would resume placing vehicles out of service.
It is important to remember that this does not change the ELD mandate deadline. In the letter that the CVSA sent to the FMCSA to inform about this new phased-in approach, Collin B. Mooney — who is the Executive Director of the CVSA — mentioned:
“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 summary, the OOS criteria enforcement delay does not change the ELD mandate deadline.
Violators would be cited and fined after December 18, 2017. Inspectors just won’t place them out of service until April 01, 2018.
The Many Dangers of Last-Minute ELD Compliance
Studies reveal that fleets are trying to wait until the very last moment to install ELDs. That’s a grave mistake — one that could easily backfire.
There is no benefit whatsoever in delaying the process of ELD implementation. However, there are several disadvantages.
Here are some of them:
1. ELD Supply Shortage
A recent study highlights that there are approximately 60% fleets that have not installed ELDs yet. They’re still relying on paper logs and, in fact, waiting for the very last moment to start their ELD implementation process.
Now, there are only 60 days left. What do you think would happen when all those fleets simultaneously place their ELD orders?
ELD vendors would run out of ELDs, resulting in an ELD supply shortage. A few ELD companies are already telling their customers to expect deliveries in 8 to 10 weeks. As of today, the ELD mandate is just 8 weeks away.
In short, fleets that haven’t yet equipped ELDs are already late.
It is safe to assume that because of the ELD supply shortage, many fleets would not be able to comply with the ELD rule before December 18, 2017.
As a result, their trucking operations would halt, they won’t be able to complete deliveries or retain customers, and they would be paying hefty fines and penalties because of noncompliance.
2. A Possible Price Hike
The ELD supply shortage is bound to pave the way for a possible price hike.
As ELD demand increases, vendors would have no choice but to increase their prices. And fleets would be left with no choice but to pay significantly more than they have to pay right now.
3. Unreliable ELD Solutions
There is a lot that goes into the decision of buying an ELD solution.
If at the eleventh hour, you find out that your first-choice ELD vendor can’t deliver in time, you’d have to fall back on less-desired options.
As a result, you’re more likely to be stuck with an unreliable, second-choice ELD solution that you didn’t want to buy in the first place.
However, preparing before the deadline grows any closer, you’d be able to get the perfect ELD system that fits the requirements of your truck drivers and trucking company.
Last, but not the least, it is crucial to understand that ELDs are a new technology.
Truck drivers and fleet managers still have much to learn about ELDs, e-log applications, documents backup, data transfer, and operating electronic logging devices.
Fleets that have already been using ELDs for the past few months have successfully familiarized themselves with its operations. They understand how ELDs work, what functions drivers have to perform, and which documents they need to carry and/or save.
Since those fleets are using ELDs before the mandatory compliance deadline, they don’t have to worry about violations at the moment.
However, it is not going to be that simple for a late-adopter.
If they install ELDs just before December 18, 2017, they won’t have enough time to familiarize themselves by doing a few test-runs. Even a single mistake would cost them hefty fines and penalties.
In other words, there won’t be any room for mistakes for such fleets — which is not an ideal situation to be in with a new technology.
Start the ELD Implementation Process Now
There is not enough time. With just 60 days to go, fleets without ELDs need to start the ELD implementation process right now.
Request a free ELD demo now, and one of our product specialists will get in touch with you.
If you have any questions, call us at 855-434-ELOG or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.