Only two weeks old, the nationwide Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate that took effect on Dec. 18, 2017 is off to a slow start. Enforcement is still soft in many areas, with inspectors observing spotty compliance for a variety of reasons. As expected, small numbers of holdouts continue to resist the FMSCA rule, tweeting #ELDorMe rallying cries and vowing to continue with paper logs. However, a few days after the deadline, most drivers across the country reported business as usual.

Can Drivers Expect Soft Enforcement of the E-Log Mandate?

Inspectors in some states are still working out their processes and determining how best to enforce the new ELD mandate. While officers are indeed asking to inspect ELDs in the trucks they pull in, nationwide enforcement hasn’t begun.

At least 14 states have announced they won’t issue citations until April 1, 2018, the official date that trucks can be taken out of service for noncompliance. Another 11 states will trust the enforcement officer’s discretion on the matter, however, citations in those states may ramp up well before April. By default, drivers should expect the remaining states to enforce the rule in full today.

One reason behind soft enforcement of the ELD mandate in some areas is the fact that many states aren’t quite ready themselves. In some states, computer systems aren’t updated to encode ELD violations, or updated so recently that officers are still learning (CCJ).

Drivers Rushing to Comply with E-Log Mandate at the Eleventh Hour

Inspectors note that many drivers waited too long to plan for the ELD mandate, resulting in last-minute attempts at compliance. While these scenarios may seem like compliance, they are not—and could result in citations (Overdrive):

  • Presenting a receipt for an ELD purchased, but not yet received or installed
  • Installing the ELD, but not knowing how to use it due to lack of training
  • Completing training and properly installing equipment, but not putting it into use
  • Blaming ELD service providers after waiting too long to onboard a device

Most Drivers are Complying with E-Log Mandate

ELD makers have reported spikes in the number of new users logging on to their systems, which indicates that many drivers, particularly large fleets, are fully compliant after all (CCJ). Yet, despite two years of preparation and notifications from the FMCSA, along with buzz from transportation industry stakeholders, some drivers are still not prepared. A recent survey estimates that 25 percent of small firms missed the December 18 deadline (Times Free Press).

Immediately after the deadline, truckers for the most part reported business as usual.  However, as the first week progressed, load-to-truck ratios surged and the dry-van ratio hit an all-time high of 12.2 loads per truck. Last-minute orders ahead of the Christmas holiday played a role in this, but ELD pressures likely also contributed to tightened capacity.

Capacity concerns will surely keep shippers, brokers, and carriers focused on compliance numbers over the coming months. If ELD resisters push the envelope and refuse to comply in full by April 1, capacity could become severely constrained and cause prices to rise. Time will tell.

Capstone and ELD Compliance

In the meantime, Capstone is committed to monitoring ELD compliance and enforcement, as well as capacity-related issues as they arise, and will continue to share information with customers. Contact us for more information.