USDOT ELD Mandate Disrupts Trucking Industry

This July 2018, the US House considered passage of a bill that would study the effects of the ELD (electronic logging device) Mandate that went into effect for the trucking industry in December of 2017. Specifically, the new bill looks to ascertain the number of truck drivers who have quit over problems associated with complying with ELD regulations.

After being in effect only 6 months or so, ELD has resulted in some 35,000 citations for failure to register an ELD device – making it the number one cause for citations in the entire trucking industry, including everyone from auto shippers to produce shippers. No part of the trucking industry has been left untouched.

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What’s Causing Problems With ELD Compliance?

While some trucking companies might try just skirting the ELD requirements because they find them burdensome, and get caught, there’s more involved in the widespread lack of compliance thus far.

First of all, many truckers are using the AOBRD ELD device, which actually is exempt from having to be registered. But those enforcing the ELD mandate are often unfamiliar with AOBRD – and truckers struggle to explain it to inspectors properly.

Also, there is very uneven enforcement of the new mandate so far, and very uneven training of law enforcement tasked with doing the enforcing. This can result in those following the law under valid exemptions getting fined, while those who are flagrantly breaking it in law enforcement areas not getting fined.

Next, there are problems with the ELD devices themselves, which stem from poor manufacturing that doesn’t make design conducive to compliance. Some ELDs fail to require data entry where drivers are required by law to enter it. Trailer numbers may be missing or record of duty might be absent or too short.

However, ELD rules are also catching those who falsify records of duty or who illegally drive past “hour fourteen.” So this aspect of ELD may ultimately up road safety if only the other bugs can be eventually ironed out.

Sadly, lack of preparation for the new ELD Mandate, or lack of enough time to prepare as the case may be, has created a whirlwind of trouble for truckers. So far, little attention has been paid by regulators to ELD makers, where much of the trouble stems from, but all the focus has been thrown at the carriers.

How Can Trucking Companies Get Compliant With ELD?

ELDs have potential to increase accountability and safety in the trucking industry, and despite the current disruptions, it’s likely some form of the mandate (even if later modified) will remain permanently.

Truckers and trucking companies, therefore need to find ways to keep themselves compliant to avoid citations. What can they do?

First, drivers need to be disciplined to always log in. If someone forgets to log in and then drives, it’s going to show up and cause problems for the next driver.

Second, when a vehicle is used for “personal conveyance,” it doesn’t need to be on the ELD record. So the ELD is unplugged. But too often, the odometer will skip or jump when the ELD’s unplugged. These skips have to be reported and you have to have a well outlined personal conveyance policy.

Third, trucking companies have to always be ready for an audit. They have to know how to get the data fast and create proper reports. That means you have to keep track of all supporting documents and keep a violation report (since it will be asked for). But, auditors don’t have authority to break into your terminal and look over your system – best not to let them but just be ready to report on anything specific that’s asked for.

It may ultimately prove that ELD “road bumps” will be overcome by truckers, or maybe the legislation will finally be repealed. But for the present, the ELD Mandate is definitely causing disruptions. Truckers who want to survive and thrive will need to formulate new compliance strategies.

If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.

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