This Sunday, April 1, will roll in cold and hard for motor carriers and drivers who are not yet compliant with the electronic logging device mandate. That’s when the so-called “soft enforcement” period for ELD violations comes to a screeching halt for all but those exempt from the game-changing rule.
But not just the illegally unprepared could feel the shock of the new day’s dawning. That’s because everyone required to operate with an electronic logging device will face “a firehose of violations” issued roadside by law enforcement, predicts Steve Bryan, president of Vigillo.
Bryan used that arresting metaphor to drive home his point: Data collected during the soft enforcement period indicates that law enforcement is more than ready and able to start assigning Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) points and issuing of out-of-service citations for any violation of the ELD mandate once April 1 arrives.
Full enforcement of the ELD rule will “not be limited to smaller carriers, as already brand-name carriers are being written up” during the ongoing soft enforcement period, he said during a panel on the topic during the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual convention this week in Orlando, Florida.
He said those violations include ones being racked up by ELD-compliant fleets because they may have “drivers who are not using their device correctly or not turning the device on correctly for inspectors” to examine their records of duty status.
According to Bryan, from the start of the mandate on Dec. 18 through the end of February, some 27,000 ELD violations were recorded. He said if that paces holds going into April – and there is no reason it won’t – carriers and drivers will feel like “a fire hose of data has been turned on them.”
On a more positive note, he said that once full enforcement kicks in, hours of service violations tied to the keeping of paper logs should drop off, thanks to the greater accuracy of ELDs – which of course is the whole point of the new rule.
Bryan’s forecast of where enforcement is headed is based on his combing through nearly three months of ELD citations that were being parked in “a holding place,” a temporary violation category, set up by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to be used during the soft enforcement period so that they wouldn’t ding CSA scores.
But, he stressed, come April 1, those violations will “start to go into their real hours of service violation category,” where they will pack their maximum wallop on CSA points.
“’Soft enforcement’ seems to have gone as planned,” said Bryan. “It was only ‘soft’ because points were not assessed. But when it ends on April 1, a lot of carriers will see a dramatic impact. That even large carriers compliant on ELDs are getting these [violation] numbers [now] means you can’t be complacent about full enforcement.”