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Getting used to the new ELD reality


The electronic logging device (ELD) drama consuming the transportation, trucking and wholesale industries draws closer to an end. Despite much opposition to the mandate, and the steps carriers and fleets across the nation must take to comply, in the end, the regulation stands. That regulation stated, by December 2017, these businesses needed to equip ELDs on all nonexempt vehicles.

However, come April 1, 2018, another milestone in the regulation occurs. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance begins enforcing out-of-service rules for all noncompliant cases. In layman's terms, any inspected commercial vehicle found noncompliant with the ELD ruling will be taken off the road, representing a significant deadline for fleet managers to consider.

With the latest increase to enforcement on its way, it becomes more important than ever for wholesale companies and fleet owners to assess the readiness of their existing systems, hardware, and software to ensure compliance. The costs of straying from the mandate can be impactful, and businesses should work to accept the new ELD reality.

Catching up on the ELD mandate history

But first, a look back at the long road the ELD rules have taken:

1988: A predecessor to today's ELD, the Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), was first standardized and began to replace the manual, paper-based system some still maintain.
2000: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first attempts to reform hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in favor of requiring ELDs. Although not successful, the effort begins the process of policymaking, consultation and lobbying that paved the way for later action.
2012: Congress passes the Moving Ahead for Progress in 21st Century (MAP-21) bill that included direction for the FMCSA to begin studying the practicality of an ELD mandate.
Dec. 16, 2015: The final ELD rule is published in the Federal Register and receives voluminous feedback from businesses and industry advocates concerned with the cost and scope of the rule.
Dec. 18, 2017: Despite public rumors on stalled implementation, the ELD mandate enters a critical stage of compliance: All fleets must take steps toward equipping vehicles with certified, registered ELDs and phasing out paper methods (unless exempted). AOBRDs installed before Dec. 18, 2017, are allowable until Dec. 16, 2019, when full compliance with the ELD mandate is expected.

April 1: The next big date

Currently, the CVSA issues citations for carriers noncompliant with the ELD mandate at its discretion, and the association doesn't plan to enforce out-of-service punishments until April 1, 2018. At that time, the CVSA may elect to take any driver off the road if he or she does not comply with requirements for electronic logging, including failure to keep a log, presenting falsified logs, failure to preserve duty status records, and failure to use an approved device. Furthermore, businesses that frequently violate the mandate may face federal investigation.

Problems with compliance put wholesale businesses at risks. Not only will drivers fail to complete deliveries due to the HOS violation, but the company itself may incur severe scrutiny. At this time, organizations need to rely on their data solutions to ensure integrity and compliance with regulations. Paper-based systems, already on their way out, no longer provide a viable option in the new ELD reality.

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