ELD Mandate – Dispelling The Misinformation

 

  • History of ELD Mandate

  • Studies on ELD Adoption

  • How Violations Relate to Hours of Service (HOS)

  • Catalyst for Change

 

We’ve received numerous calls from customers asking how their business may be affected by the ELD mandate if one of the carriers they hired has an ELD violation. I think the problem is that while everyone knows a little about the ELD mandate, no one has a clear picture. Our goal in this article is primarily to help the broker business understand the process for a carrier to adopt and install an ELD, while also sharing what we have learned about steps so as to help a broker business be proactive with their core carriers.

 

History Of ELD Mandate

The FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Electronic Logging Device rule, better known as the ELD Mandate, was published in 2015 as a provision of MAP-21. The bill stipulated that carrier fleets must use an approved ELD to replace existing paper logbooks that some drivers have used up to this point. Specifically, fleets have until December 2017 to make the changeover. Those fleets that already have an electronic system have a longer grace period, they have until 2019 to make sure that their systems are in compliance with the ELD Mandate.

 

Simply put, ELDs have been designed to ensure drivers and carriers follow hours of service rules. They are intended to take the place of paper logbooks and automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD) in order to standardize the collection of hours-of-service data. Approved ELDs meet the standards set in FMCSA’s rule 395.15, to include an ability to automatically record drivers’ duty status and any changes, and the capability to display driving information for the current day and seven previous days in the event that a driver is pulled over.

 

Studies on ELD Adoption

A 2016 survey by Transplace of 2,000 carriers found that 81% of large fleets (those with more than 250 trucks) reported full ELD implementation, with the remaining 19% working towards full implementation at the time. On the whole, large fleets appear to have been quicker in implementing ELDs, than smaller fleets (those with fewer than 250 trucks), of whom 33% of those surveyed had fully implemented ELDs. The slower rate of implementation by smaller fleets presents a problem going forward, since carriers with fleets of fewer than 250 trucks make up a significant part of the carrier market. This reluctance may be explained by the fact that according to the same survey, 64% of smaller carriers expect a decrease in their truckload capacity or utilization thanks to driver shortage and other factors as the ELD Mandate moves forward, versus 56% of larger carriers holding similar opinions. These fears may not be unfounded, 51% of carriers reported that they’ve already lost drivers who chose not to participate after the implementation of ELDs.

Kevin Hill on Eld Mandate

A Nov 6th, 2017 survey of 1,600 carriers by our friends at CarrierLists.com found that among the smaller carrier fleets, only 58% of fleets between 5-100 trucks are now compliant with the ELD Mandate. This is up from 37% as of last week, and greatly improved from a CarrierLists survey in October that showed of the same group only 23% had been compliant. This is a marked improvement, but still very low. Suffice to say if things with small carrier fleets stay on the current track, the period between now and the implementation date is going to be, as CarrierLists President Kevin Hill put, it “one chaotic mess”.

The number of compliant carriers within the sample size didn’t crack 50% until November 6th, leaving a very narrow thirty business days for the remaining 42% of surveyed carriers to comply. This is progress, but carriers need to get a move on if the trucking market is going to avoid an ugly transitional period.

 

Those are the bad numbers. These are the good ones. Going back to the  2016 Transplace survey, the findings indicated that carriers foresee tangible benefits to using ELDs–33% of carriers anticipate improved driver monitoring, and 21% of carriers expect the ELDs to better equip them to use their drivers and equipment. 84% of carriers participating in the survey report that implemented ELDs have already caused a substantial reduction in hours-of-service and logging violations, giving them a better handle on their businesses and liability. What’s more, a 2014 FMCSA report, entitled “Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Hours-of-Service (HOS) Recorders,” cited that carriers with ELD experienced an 11.7% reduction in crash rate, and a 50% drop in hours-of-service violations compared to carriers using traditional paper logs.

 

How Violations Relate to Hours of Service (HOS)

While concern over industry changes is understandable, the benefits of the change cannot be ignored, nor should the nature of the change be overestimated. Sam Tucker, (CEO, Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc.), explains that “the underlying hours of service rules aren’t changing. The only thing that is changing is going to be how the violations are discovered…just as it is currently, if a driver is discovered to be in violation of the HOS regulations the driver is placed out of service until they are able to operate within the scope of the regulations again.”

 

These out-of-service (OOS) conditions have been exhaustively detailed by the FMCSA, and will take effect as of December 18, 2017. Major OOS conditions to expect from noncompliance include:

 

Eld Violations - Out Of Date

 

OOS conditions are not the end of the world, but they are intended to be a discipline condition. Sam Tucker continues: “What the motor carrier decides to do with the load and truck until the driver has the ability to drive again is totally up to them. They could get another driver to take over the assigned load and ensure delivery, just rest the driver until he has the hours or do whatever they deem necessary in order to complete delivery.”

 

Carriers will also need to be aware that the 10-hour out-of-service order associated with non-compliance with the mandate will begin April 1, 2018, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Importantly, this does not mean that you can avoid getting an ELD. Drivers who don’t have an ELD or grandfathered AOBRD will be cited and potentially fined, they just won’t be taken out of service. After April 1, 2018 however, all of the above will apply.

 

Catalyst for Change

While opinions on the ELD Mandate may be mixed, and carriers may need time to come to terms with the fact of the roll-out date, it’s important to consider what life will be like on the other side of implementation. Michael McKinney (President, AM Transport Services), suggests that “the most difficult transition will be for shippers and consignees to think of transportation in the sense of time instead of distance.  There will be more emphasis on the hours spent rather than the miles driven.”

 

This change in relationship between shippers and consignees will, as McKinney continues, be a net positive in the end, as “The ELD mandate will force better communication in all aspects of the supply chain.  Dispatchers and Drivers will need to be on the same page concerning available hours and need to be able to communicate that to Brokers and Shippers.”

 

All change is disruptive, but that’s by design. While the ELD mandate is a new condition, it’s intended to streamline and improve the carrier process. None of the changes required are too onerous or punitive to completely counterbalance the benefits ELDs will bring to the business of moving freight, the only risk is confusion. We are happy to provide information regarding the Mandate as we move through this transitional period. This article, and others on our site including this one are intended as resources in order to clarify what’s happening and dispel misinformation.

 

Mark Draeb

Author: Mark Draeb

President & CEO • Grizella LLC

Makers of PostEverywhere® and SaferWatch

 


 

ELD Mandate Citing Sources