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The federal mandate requiring most commercial trucks to track hours of service with electronic logging devices (ELDs) officially went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017. However, law enforcement agencies will not begin enforcing the mandate—and penalizing drivers for ELD violations—until April 1.

With that deadline just days away, here are some important things to know about the ELD mandate and how it will be enforced:

Not all states plan to enforce the mandate.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will start enforcing the ELD mandate on April 1 by putting truck drivers out of service for 10 hours or adjusting their safety scores. However, several states need to adopt the federal ELD rule as part of their safety regulation codes before they can begin enforcing it. At least four states—South Dakota, Missouri, Idaho and Tennessee—have even proposed legislation intended to block ELD enforcement within their borders.

Livestock haulers may be exempt.

Since the ELD mandate went into effect in December, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has clarified how carriers that haul horses and other livestock will be affected. The new guidelines posted in late February provide ELD and commercial driver’s license exceptions for the transportation of horses and other animals to shows and events. Other agricultural transportation, such as covered farm vehicles or the movement of commodities within a 150-air-mile radius, are also exempt from the ELD rule.

Other exemptions remain in place.

If your trucking company meets any of the following descriptions, you do not have to use ELDs:

  • Fleets operating heavy trucks manufactured prior to the year 2000.
  • Drivers who only use paper duty status records for eight days or less during a 30-day period.
  • Drivers who do not have to keep a records-of-duty status.
  • Vehicles that are also the product being delivered (drive-away/tow-away).
  • Carriers that only perform short hauls within a 100-air-mile radius.

Having an older recording device buys you more time.

Drivers who track their hours of service with automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD) have a little more time before needing to upgrade to ELDs. The deadline when drivers using AOBRDs must comply with the ELD regulation is Dec. 16, 2019.

Rule-breakers can be put out of service.

Starting in April, a driver can be put out of service for 10 hours by law enforcement for the following violations:

  • Using an ELD device that is not registered with the FMCSA.
  • Not being able to produce a record of on-duty status from an ELD or AOBRD device.
  • The truck is not equipped with an ELD or an AOBRD.
  • The driver has falsified his hours-of-service log.

ELDs are really happening.

Some trucking groups like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) continue to challenge the ELD mandate. However, the rule has now been in place for three months now. Since December, the CVSA and other law enforcement have been issuing “soft” warnings to drivers who are not using ELDs.

In other words, ELDs are not going away. Drivers and carriers that are not compliant could pay a hefty price during a DOT audit or roadside inspection.

To get information about how RTS can help move your business forward, contact us today!

Sources: Overdrive, Transport Topics

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