Are enforcement personnel ready for Dec. 18 ELD deadline? Photo: Kentucky State Police

Are enforcement personnel ready for Dec. 18 ELD deadline? Photo: Kentucky State Police

The nation’s commercial vehicle enforcement officials say there’s no reason to delay the December start date for the electronic logging device mandate – but they will delay implementing out-of-service criteria related to ELDs until April 1, 2018, and say each jurisdiction will have discretion as to whether they actually issue citations in the beginning.

On Dec. 18, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports, according to an Aug. 28 announcement from the according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. At the jurisdiction's discretion, inspectors will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD.

Beginning April 1, 2018, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with the required device.

Delaying the out-of-service aspects of the rule will “provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new requirement before vehicles are placed out of service for ELD violations,” CVSA said.

CVSA noted that member jurisdictions have used this phased-in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in regulatory requirements.

Opponents of the ELD rule, most notably the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, have been lobbying Congress to try to get a delay in the rule’s implementation, at least for smaller carriers.

“Motor carriers have had two full years to prepare for the requirement and obtain devices for their vehicles,” wrote CVSA Executive Director Collin B. Mooney in a letter to FMCSA. “FMCSA’s own research has found that the use of ELDs results in a reduction in a motor carrier’s crash rate and hours-of-service violations. It is time to move forward with this regulation.”

Fleets can keep using their existing AOBRDs for two years. Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Fleets can keep using their existing AOBRDs for two years. Photo: Deborah Lockridge

One of the arguments for delay has been that enforcement officials are not ready. And at CVSA’s recent North American Inspectors Championship, one ELD provider said there were quite a few questions from inspectors. Eroad company representatives onsite said the event was the first time for many of the enforcement officials to learn about the similarities and differences between ELDs and some AOBRD devices, and that many enforcement officials were not confident that the FMCSA will deliver ERODS (the computer program that inspectors are supposed to use to interpret the data from the ELDs) in a timely manner and with proper guidance and training.

However, Mooney told FMCSA in his letter, “I also want to assure you that, despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirement on Dec. 18, 2017.”

The CVSA announcement also included a reminder that motor carriers may continue to use a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) up until Dec. 16, 2019. The AOBRD must meet the requirements of 49 C.F.R. 395.15.

This announcement does not impact enforcement of the OOSC for other hours-of-service violations.

For more information about the ELD rule, visit FMCSA's ELD implementation website.

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