Strict ELD Enforcement Has Begun

by Madison Eklund
May 15, 2018

The ELD mandate went into full effect as the soft enforcement period ended on April 1st.

The ELD Mandate went into effect last December, but until recently it was only softly enforced. Now, during the hard enforcement period, drivers who do not have an AOBRD or a registered ELD will face consequences. If found without an ELD during roadside inspection, the vehicle will be placed out-of-service for 8-10 hours and a violation will be recorded against the driver’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which will affect their Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) score too.

However, while companies and drivers struggle with the shift in technology, Noel Perry, Principal at Transport Futures and Chief Economist at Truckstop.com, argues the punishments will be minimal at first: “These [ELDs] were designed to allow a trooper to inspect it roadside, analyze it, and determine if a carrier has been running legally,” he said. “But it turns out we lack the technology to download it properly to the trooper to analyze it properly. The main enforcement that will happen now is to see if an ELD is in a truck and if it is working. But I don’t think the system is going to have the operable ability to real-time enforcement for several years. If a carrier has ELD, it is fine, and if it does not, they will likely get a break, at least at first.” Regardless of the punishment per violation, it is inevitable that ELDs will need to be installed and utilized in all non-exempt vehicles.

Majority rules

While there was some anxiety surrounding the April 1st hard enforcement date, truckload capacity has not suffered, and the majority of companies have complied with the Mandate.

Peggy Dorf, a market analyst for DAT, conducted a survey about the ELD Mandate. “Many [smaller carrier companies] said they were never going to do it, but in the end they changed their minds and did go ahead and install them,” Dorf said. More than nine out of ten carriers who were required to have electronic logging devices had installed them by mid-March, she said.

The deputy director of media relations for the FMCSA, Duane DeBruyne, said that compliance rates are measured by the number of driver inspections with no ELD violations. By the beginning of April, 95.9% of of the drivers on the road were compliant with the ELD/hours-of-service record keeping requirements.

New technology

While a major shift in technology can generate resistance, the ELD mandate can ensure benefits for fleet managers and companies’ overall ROI. Compared to paper-logging, ELD’s are able to record more than just a driver’s RODS. They can also:

• Generate Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports
• Produce IFTA reports
• Monitor driver behavior like speeding, idling and hard braking
• Include GPS and route solutions
• See and track the health & status of vehicles and equipment
• Gauge asset utilization

Understanding the performance of drivers and assets will help fleet managers become more proactive to potential problems that can occur. With companies with a mixed fleet, ELDs can manage HOS with drivers, as well as help maintain each of their assets by generating reports that gauge utilization and location.

Finding the right solution

Numerous ELD systems exist and are geared toward specific industries and fleet size. Companies can do their own research and choose their favorite system, however it must meet a list of requirements from the FMCSA. While it can seem overwhelming, most systems meet all of the requirements which simplifies the process.

Companies with a mixed fleet should utilize technology systems with the ability to manage each of their assets. ES Track provides an ELD system built specifically for the construction industry. ES Track allows fleet managers, contractors, drivers and operators to use the telematics system to track and manage each asset.

As the hard enforcement period strengthens and roadside inspections begin to become more strict, make sure your fleet is equipped with the correct technology.  

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