It’s here… the day that everyone in the freight industry – from owner operators, large fleets, shippers, receivers, freight brokers, 3PLs, insurance providers, and everyone in between – has been waiting for (and, for the most part, dreading). That’s right: the ELD mandate is officially in effect. The two-year transition period flew by in what feels like the blink of an eye, and now, the majority of trucks on the road need to be equipped with an ELD in order to be compliant with FMCSA regulations.
Although there have been hundreds of articles published about this on the internet by now, we did want to take a second to remind everyone that the compliance date has arrived, and clear up a few misconceptions and common questions that seem to be floating around the industry.
There are only a few exemptions to the rule. Even if you’re an owner-operator with only one truck, that does not exempt you from the requirements. Here are the official exemptions, straight from the FMCSA website:
“Drivers who use paper logs for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.
Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.”
For most drivers, unless they only operate less than 8 days per month or have a truck that’s pre-2000 model year, an ELD is now required.
Soft Launch/Grace Period
The FMCSA recently announced that rather than carriers being placed out of service starting today, a “soft launch” or “grace period” for ELD implementation would begin today, December 18th. While this was supposed to make things easier for carriers, this actually has created a lot of confusion surrounding when the mandate actually goes into effect. Many drivers have heard different and conflicting information about this in the flurry of discussion about ELDs over the past couple of months.
What’s the truth? The ELD mandate still goes into effect today, December 18th. However, if you are pulled over or inspected and found to be operating without an ELD, you will not be placed out of service and your CSA score will not be impacted. You will still face the possibility of being ticketed and fined heftily. However, carriers will not be placed OOS until April 1st, 2018. It’s easiest to think of it this way: the mandate still goes into effect today, and the requirements to comply are the same as they always will be, but as of April, the penalties will be even harsher. It’s not the requirement that has a grace period, but the penalties for not adhering to the requirement.
It’s Not Too Late to Get an ELD
If you still need to equip your truck(s) with an ELD in order to be compliant, it’s not too late. Check out our blog here: https://trinitylogistics.com/blog/how-to-choose-an-eld-provider-links-resources/ where we compiled a list of resources to help you make your purchasing decision.
We’re entering a very uncertain time in the freight industry. Nobody really knows how many carriers still need to become compliant or will simply choose to no longer operate in response to this new regulation. Stay posted to our blog and we’ll be sure to post more updates as the impact of this mandate begins to unfold.