By this time next year, all commercial trucks in the US will be installed with electronic logging devices.
At least that was the prevailing expectation in the trucking industry until about a month ago.
Let’s rewind: Back in 2015, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule that would require all trucks to adopt automated logging technology. According to the department, the rule was meant to reduce paperwork, improve data accuracy and “[allow] roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”
Truck operators, for the most part, accepted the updated regulations as a given. As soon as the ELD mandate was announced, drivers and fleets set to work upgrading their vehicles and preparing to meet new compliance requirements by December 31st, 2017.
And then something called the “2016 US Presidential Election” happened. With Donald Trump set to take office next year, the tenor surrounding the ELD requirements has suddenly shifted from a question of what and how to one of when—and indeed if at all.
What will the ELD requirements entail? How will the new technology affect my bottom line? In addition to these questions, operators are now wondering if Trump, a staunchly anti-regulation president, will delay the final rule’s implementation date or scrap the proposed requirements altogether.
FTR, an industry analyst group, is equivocal. On one hand, as Fleet Equipment reports, FTR contends that “any proposed legislation, including any changes to the ELD regulations, will take time to move through the legislative branch of government,” and the Trump administration won’t have much time to act, nor does it appear that the administration considers trucking a priority.
On the other hand: “‘[I]f electronic logging device (ELD) implementation gets sticky because of the FMCSA’s slowness in publishing complete technical standards, the new administration is much more likely to postpone the December 2017 deadline.”
Although carriers would be wise to continue forward assuming the final rule will go into effect unabated, recent history dictates that anything could occur between now and December 31st, 2017. We’ll be sure to post any updates here.