Back in February, in one of our articles we took a look at the federal electronic logging device mandate on the transportation sector and the impact it would have on the industry. The mandate is scheduled to take effect December 18, 2017, however, in late August the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an association that represents state law enforcement agencies, said it would postpone putting drivers out-of-service for not complying with the mandate until April 1, 2018.
“Beginning April 1, 2018, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with the required device,” said the CVSA. The April 1 “effective date” for applying the electronic logging device (ELD) out-of-service criteria will give truckers and shippers time to adjust to the rule with “minimal disruption to the delivery of goods.”
The ELD federal rule requires truck operators to install electric logging devices to keep records of their duty status. With the use of the ELD, drivers will no longer be required to keep and maintain paper logs. They will, however, be required to maintain supporting documentation and submit them to their carrier or, for owner-operators, to keep them on file. The rule requires drivers currently required to keep paper logs to use ELDs, with a few exceptions. Also, the mandate does not apply to drivers of vehicles built before the year 2000. The rule also spells out safeguards against driver harassment via the devices, hardware specifications of the devices, and supporting documentation drivers must continue to keep after the mandate.
The CVSA’s action calms the fears that thousands of truckers could be placed out of service for not having ELDs beginning December 18, which could end up stranding freight and causing a logistical nightmare the week right before the holidays, as noted in an article in the Journal of Commerce (JOC). The CVSA’s announcement also serves to clarify how events are likely to unfold as the mandate takes effect and gives motor carriers, struggling to prepare for the requirement which affects about 3 million drivers, more breathing room.
Basically, truckers may receive a citation (and associated fine) if they do not have ELDs installed and operating by December 18, but they will not be ordered off the road and out-of-service. According to the JOC article, regulators could use information on companies and drivers that receive citations to identify and investigate carriers suspected of not complying with the mandate. Effective April 1, truck drivers that do not have ELDs will be placed out-of-service by the state regulatory officials, roadside inspectors, and police officers represented by the CVSA, using its North American Out of Service Criteria. Another driver will have to pick up the freight being hauled by that out-of-service driver.
As December 18 approaches, many smaller trucking companies reportedly are not prepared to make the switch from paper logbooks to ELDs. A number of groups led by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are seeking either an outright delay of the regulation or exemptions for specific types of trucking operations, such as drivers of rental trucks.
RPS specializes in providing insurance for the transportation industry and is committed to keeping our pulse on regulations and trends in the sector. For more information about our portfolio of insurance products, please contact us.