A little over 11 months ago, we wrote: “By this time next year, all commercial trucks in the US will be installed with electronic logging devices.”
Now, less than a month before the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD mandate becomes effective, that prediction appears to be coming true.
So what? Why are we drawing your attention to a law that’s going into effect on schedule? For two reasons: the ELD mandate has survived relentless opposition over the past year, and there’s still a small chance a court could delay it or strike it down.
Many ATA members have been running E-logs for several years now.
But the regulation has encountered fierce resistance from independent drivers who believe the devices will be intrusive.
In a last-ditch effort to stall the ELD mandate, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging its members to support a standalone bill, HR 3282, introduced by Republican Brian Babin of Texas. The bill is aimed at delaying implementation for two years until December 2019. The bill, which has been parked in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure since it was introduced July 18, has 49 co-sponsors.
Fourteen industry trade associations, including OOIDA, have written a letter supporting Babin.
With less than 5 weeks to go before December 18th, the mandate’s initial enforcement deadline, legislators like Babin and their constituents are doing everything they can to push the rule back or carve out exemptions for certain operators. One such effort has come from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which recently petitioned the FMCSA to give small businesses (that is, any transportation entity with $27.5 million or less in gross annual receipts) an additional 5 years to comply.
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The ELD rule will require carriers and drivers to record hours of service through specified electronic devices. Many fleets have already implemented ELDs in compliance with the FMCSA. Proponents say the rule will save lives and reduce long-term costs. Additionally, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (the agency enforcing the mandate) is giving fleets a 4-month grace period, during which no truckers will be taken off the road for failing to comply.
But these factors mean little to the companies who say that the mandate places undue strain on their operations. Some independent fleets say that they can’t afford the equipment, and others contend that electronic logs may actually force drivers into unsafe situations.
Regardless, carriers should expect to comply with the rule on or before December 18th. Probably.
For more trucking compliance information and resources, click here.