By: Brien Richmond On: January 31, 2018 In: Industry news Comments: 0

The ELD mandate has arrived, but how are fleets responding? While some are embracing the new technology, other smaller operations are avoiding it like the plague. And when it comes to the truckers themselves, if you were to ask two different truckers – you’d likely get two complete different answers. Before we dive further into reactions, let’s take a closer look at what the ELD mandate was intended to be, what it is and what it is not.

The Idea Behind the ELD Mandate

The basic premise behind the ELD mandate is pretty simple. Rather than having truck drivers spend time tediously keeping record of their hours and duty status using a pencil and paper, they would now have a a device onboard that would be connected to the truck’s engine to take care of this automatically. This would mean no more logbook headaches and things such as Hours of Service (HOS) would be more cut and dry.

Who’s impacted by the ELD mandate?

The ELD is required for interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers currently required to keep record of duty status (RODS), operate vehicles in excess of 10,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight (GVW), that are placarded to carry hazardous material loads, or that carry in excess of eight to 15 passengers, depending on the vehicle class.

Who’s NOT affected by the ELD mandate?

ELDs are currently not required required for drivers holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and remaining within a 100 mile air-radius of their home base, or non-CDL freight drivers remaining within a 150 mile air-radius of their home base. They may still use timecards.

Must Know ELD Facts:

  • The device must allow the driver to log in and select one of three duty status options: on-duty, on-duty not driving, and off-duty.
  • ELDs will records time to the nearest minute, whereas with old paper logs, one could track duty status time increments to the closest 15 minute mark.
  • The ELD must graphically display a driver’s RODS so they can visually and quickly track their available.
  • That information must be transferable to law enforcement officers during a roadside inspection, either in printed or electronic form.
  • The ELD mandate took effect Dec. 18, but won’t be strictly enforced until April 1. Interviews with ELD vendors, carrier executives and other industry observers paint a mixed picture of compliance so far.

The ELD Aftermath

While compliance is on the rise, it appears there are going to be challenges. It seems as though a lot is still up in the air as to how ELDs will play into things such as capacity, routing and, of course, the ever growing demand for truck drivers. Of course, this isn’t uncommon with a big technology shift like this one.

Tom Reader, director of marketing for ELDs and Services at J.J. Keller & Associates, said: “we’re aware of issues with essentially all devices on the market. For us, it’s been really a combination of new customers that are learning new technology and the ramp-up time is longer than they allowed for, and a heavy increase in our user population that’s put a short-term strain on our resources. We’re deploying updates to our app at a regular pace, with improvements and added features. ”

While the compliance with the federal mandate is on the rise, there are still some lagging behind waiting until enforcement really cracks down in April of this year. On the other hand, many fleets rushed to meet the December 18th deadline and have found that cheap/quick ELD solution providers haven’t worked out as planned. Many of the vendors promising answers just did not provide a product that truly met the ELD requirements that the FMCSA put forth. This has left some fleets trying to figure out what to do with defective devices and software integration issues.

The tough part about it all is that if a fleet owner finds out that their ELD system isn’t in compliance after all he or she has just eight days to reequip the fleet. Of course, if the fleet fails to do so, they can be hit with a penalty from the FMCSA. When in doubt, it’s always best to double check with solution providers that are listed on the FMCSA website.

The ELD mandate is still relatively new and its lasting impact in the trucking industry remains to be seen. In the big picture, however, this is just the type of the iceberg as technology continues to transform transportation as we know it. We will continue to keep a pulse on the ELD mandate reactions and other emerging trends as 2018 continues.

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