ELD Out-of-Services Will Begin April 1st, AG Haulers Granted Additional Time

The trucking industry is just weeks away from authorities issuing out-of-service orders for non-ELD compliant trucks.  

While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect on Dec. 18th, 2017, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced that out-of-services due to compliance failure would not be dispensed until April 1st in order to give carriers and drivers more time to adjust.

ELDs replace the old means of recording a driver’s hours-of-service via paper logs.  Drivers are allowed 14 hours on-duty a day with 11 of those hours consisting of driving time.  The electronic logging system would enforce this ruling and further prevent drivers from falsifying logs as many did on paper.

But stricter compliance comes at a price.  Drivers are becoming less tolerant of detention at shipper/consignee docks as when their driving/on duty limit is reached, they must shut down for a 10 hour break regardless of where he or she is, with food warehouses and ports sometimes detaining drivers for several hours.  No doubt, ELDs will cause a need to increase driver pay, lead to further capacity restraints, and raise transportation costs which will ultimately trickle down to consumers.   

Now throw in there driver harassment/privacy concerns and cost, which groups, such as the Owner-Operator Independent Association, have been arguing against since prior to implementation.  ELDs are said to hit the pockets of small carriers and owner-operators the greatest with costs ranging from $200 to $1000 per truck, in addition to a $30-$50 monthly fee. (1)  This does not include those carriers who do not have the capability to monitor these ELDs in house and need to pay a vendor to do so.

On the bright side, in addition to preventing drivers from falsifying logs, the FMCSA expects ELDs to save nearly 26 lives and prevent over 500 injuries a year. (2)  Supporting this is a 2014 study by the agency demonstrating that those trucks equipped with the device had 11.7% less crashes and 50% less hours-of-service violations when compared to those still utilizing paper logs. (3)  Additionally, lawyers note that the devices can be used to stop “unwarranted lawsuits in its early stages.” (4)

While many carriers, like Road Scholar Transport, are already utilizing ELDs, some have yet to be in compliance.  According to Carrier List, which releases weekly survey results on ELD usage, currently 92% of carriers are showing that they are in compliance, with the vast majority being larger carriers and those in the long-haul business. (5)  Small and short-haul carriers are showing a compliance average in the mid-80s. (5)         

For those not in compliance as of April 1st, the driver “will be placed out-of-service” for 10 hours, according to the FMCSA’s Joe DeLorenzo. (6)  After that time, the driver will be allowed to proceed to their destination given that they are at least recording their hours via a paper log.  Once the driver returns to their terminal, they must be ELD compliant by time they are dispatched again or they will then face stiffer penalties. (6)  Now factor in towing costs and loss of revenue per day for an out-of-service in addition to fines and carriers can find themselves hit hard in their pockets.

Last week, the FMCSA announced a 90-day extension for those hauling agricultural commodities.  As Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, explained, “Current ELD technologies do not recognize the hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture that are in federal law, leaving drivers to do twice the work by requiring use of both the ELD and traditional paper logs. This is a classic example of a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that ignores common sense to the detriment of sectors like agriculture.” (1)

ELDs – Road Scholar Transport’s Preparedness:

*Road Scholar Transport has had ELDs installed in all tractors since September of 2016.

*Currently we are 100% compliant with drivers utilizing ELDs.

*We have been reviewing repeat / routine moves for our major customers and adjusting operations and dedication of certain driver resources to ensure post ELD service levels.

ELDs – We are here to work with you:

*We may want to work together on limiting or adjusting overnight appointments that can help guarantee success.

*Can we talk about any additional visibility and coordination of regular moves/schedule ahead of time?

*What else do you have?  If you combine shipments and/or utilize the same carrier for inbound and outbound shipments you will help maximize hours-of-service.  Talk to us about drop and hook opportunities. 

*Spotted equipment will definitely help!  Do you have ELD concerns?  We can move quickly and do an assessment of your current requirements regardless of carrier and let you know what might be a problem.