Full enforcement of the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate begins April 1. While inspection data from the last few months shows a 96 percent compliance rate, those numbers may dip now that soft enforcement is over. A few exceptions remain, but most trucks deemed non-compliant by enforcers will be placed out of service beginning April 1. Don’t let that happen to you. Shippers and drivers who take a little time to know the specifics today will be ready.

4 Important Things to Know

    1. Know what “return-to-duty” means in the eyes of the FMCSA. FMCSA has defined the procedures for non-compliant trucks. If found in violation, trucks will be placed out of service for 10 hours. If the driver has a paper log, the driver may proceed to the final destination after that 10-hour period. Following that, the driver must be fully compliant with the ELD mandate before being dispatched on another trip (Overdrive).
    2. Know what Hours of Service (HOS) fines will cost you. If a fleet has not implemented an ELD by the April 1 deadline, fines may add up quickly. According to the North American Transportation Association, fines range from $1,000 to more than $10,000 for each offense. The average fine for not keeping an electronic log is $2,867.  For a list of top HOS fines, click here. Carriers that rack up multiple violations will likely also see changes in their insurance premiums, or find that they are no longer covered.
    3. Know whether you’re using an ELD or AOBRD—there’s a difference. AOBRDs, or Automatic On-Board Recording Devices, are older technologies that lack some of the features of ELDs, but they’re grandfathered to meet ELD mandate requirements until December 2019. Unfortunately, there are many types of AOBRDs and inspectors are not up to speed on all of them. To protect yourself and your carrier, understand the kind of technology installed in your truck and be prepared to describe it as either an AOBRD or ELD. Also, be sure you can run the software and produce instruction cards for inspectors. And if you recently changed devices, remove the old documents from your cab so you don’t confuse them (or yourself) when it matters most (Transport Topics).
    4. Know the agricultural exemption and how long it will last. On March 18, the FMCSA granted a 90-day waiver on the ELD rule to trucks hauling agricultural products. This new extension moves the compliance deadline out to roughly June 18 for trucks that carry livestock, insects, produce, and other perishable commodities. During this timeframe, the FMCSA will develop and publish final requirements for the 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption, as well as personal conveyance, in order to meet the unique needs of agricultural haulers (The Progressive Farmer). Check for updates at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/.

Know the Facts to Avoid Penalties

The ELD rule has been coming for some time, but drivers in the know won’t flinch. Understanding the specifics about penalties, installed technology, and exemptions will simplify inspections for you and inspectors while putting your mind at ease.

How are you preparing for ELD compliance on April 1? Leave a comment below.