Looking Ahead After the ELD Mandate Deadline

January 12, 2018

The early days of the ELD mandate have not been easy. Not only has it been challenging for fleets to transition to ELDs during the hectic holiday season, but there have been several recent updates around ELD exemptions and enforcement.

What can you do to keep your fleet safe and compliant in 2018? Let’s break down the who, what, and how of ELD’s latest developments.

The ELD Waivers -- Are My Drivers Exempt?

Drivers who previously used paper logs to record their hours of service (HOS) must now comply with the ELD mandate. While nearly everybody is by now familiar with the major categories of permanent exemptions, the FMCSA recently issued waivers that provide temporary exemptions for drivers in two additional categories.

The first temporary waiver applies to drivers of short-term truck rentals. The FMCSA had previously stated that only drivers renting trucks for eight days or less would be exempt from mandate requirements. However, the FMCSA granted a temporary waiver after the Trucking Rental and Leasing Association (TRALA) emphasized unique difficulties posed to short-term rentals. With this new waiver, drivers renting trucks for thirty days or less are not required to use ELDs until March 19, 2018.

The second temporary waiver applies to drivers hauling agricultural commodities. With this waiver, drivers hauling “any agricultural commodity, non-processed food, feed, fiber, or livestock”, have an extension until March 19, 2018 to switch over to ELDs. Haulers of agricultural commodities were previously exempt if they stayed within 150 air-miles of their agricultural source; with the temporary waiver, they are exempt regardless of the distance they travel.

What Happens To Drivers Who Are Out of Compliance?

While enforcement is ultimately at the discretion of DOT inspectors, non-exempt, non-compliant drivers risk receiving citations, fines, and having their vehicle placed out of service.

Joe DeLorenzo, Director of FMCSA's Office of Compliance and Enforcement, explains that he envisions a “soft enforcement” period; during this period, drivers without an ELD but with the correct paper logs will receive a citation but won't be placed out of service. Citations issued during this time are not expected to impact a carrier’s CSA score.

Starting April 1, 2018, however, DeLorenzo envisions a transition to “regular enforcement”, where non-exempt commercial drivers found out of compliance will be cited and have their vehicles placed out of service.

How Do I Comply?

First, make sure you have the right device. While Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) installed before December 18, 2017 may be used to record HOS, AOBRDs installed after December 18, 2017 will not be considered mandate-compliant. Non-exempt drivers without grandfathered-in AOBRDs must use ELDs, and vehicles added to fleets after December 18, 2017 must be equipped with ELDs.

Staying compliant also requires careful coordination with your drivers. After you’ve checked that you have the right equipment, work with your drivers to make sure they carry the correct paperwork, are trained in the usage of their ELDs, and are prepared to transfer data electronically during roadside inspections. The better prepared your drivers are, the more time they can spend on the road, rather than on the side of it.

If you already have an ELD-compliant solution from Samsara, make sure to check out our knowledge base for a how-to on responding to DOT inspections, as well as ready-to-print ELD cab kits. Our California-based support team can answer any remaining questions you have.

If you’re still looking for an ELD provider, check out Samsara's plug-and-play ELD solution. It ships right away, so sign up for your free trial today!

Here's to a safe, compliant, and productive new year!

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