Trucking Companies and ELD Compliance
As the December 18th, 2017, deadline for implementing Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) approaches, truck drivers, trucking companies and carriers will dispose of their traditional paper log books that have been documenting hours of service (HOS) for decades. On that date, the deadline for installing functioning ELDs on over-the-road trucks will arrive, and 100% compliance will be mandated. For trucking firms that have not started the changeover, the time to consider planning and implementation is now.
Some haulers have already taken steps to comply with the new regulations. Traffic and logistics managers should be prepared to schedule their inbound and outbound freight only with companies that are well prepared for the changeover.
Electronic logging devices will replace paper logbooks for recording hours of service (HOS) and compliance. The ELD equipment is designed to synchronize with the vehicle’s engine to record such variables as driving time and hours of service.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Requirements
According to the FMCSA website, the purposes of the regulation changes are to:
- Create a safer environment for drivers
- Make it easier and faster to monitor electronically and share Records of Duty Status (RODS)
ELD Phase-In Timeline
The ELD Rule passed on December 18, 2015, and was officially published on February 16, 2016. For the period, up-to the Implementation Date, December 18, 2017, trucks will still be permitted to use paper logs, logging software, Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDS), and registered electronic logging devices.
In the second phase, which begins on December 18, 2017, all trucks must be equipped with qualified ELDs except those vehicles equipped with AOBRDS that were installed before December 18, 2017. Those carriers will be given two more years until December 18, 2019, to install a registered ELD system.
At that time, all driver and trucks must be using certified, registered ELD equipment to be in compliance.
What Are the Benefits for Carriers and Drivers of Trucking Companies?
The FMCSA believes that adding ELD will make work safer, easier, and more efficient for drivers and trucking companies. As with most electronic devices, there are certain anticipated benefits. These are:
- Eliminates time for the driver to update and maintain records
- Reduces errors
- Provides better records for managing driver fatigue and scheduling
- Better records for establishing location and duty status
- Excellent management tool to enhance productivity
- Reduces paperwork
- Neater and more accurate than paper driver logs
Who Is Not Required to Comply?
To ensure universal compliance by trucking companies, all drivers of commercial buses and trucks in the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada, have an obligation to comply.
The exceptions to the new ELD Rule are:
- Drivers who require logs no more frequently than eight days per 30-day period.
- Tow-away drivers who are transporting empty vehicles to be sold, leased, or repaired.
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the model year 2000.
Carriers must make sure that all applicable vehicles are fully equipped with certified ELD equipment by the compliance dates and that their drivers must be thoroughly trained in their use. The training should include:
- Learning how to annotate and edit their RODS
- Certify RODS
- Knowing how to collect required documents
- Being able to transfer information from the ELD to safety officials if requested
Penalties for Non-Compliance by Trucking Companies
There will be penalties for those who do not comply. Fines may be up to $11,000 for not having an operating ELD, plus a potential immediate shutdown of the vehicle.
Choosing an ELD System for Your Trucking Company or Fleet
There are and will be several brands of electronic logging devices available in the market up to and after the date of compliance. You must make sure that the one you choose is listed as certified by the FMCSA.
Refer to the current list of FMCSA-registered equipment before purchasing your new equipment.
Freight Company Responsibility
Logistics and freight managers should begin to research their portfolio of freight and trucking companies to ensure that each transportation provider will be in compliance well before the deadline. Disruptions and delays resulting from a lack of foresight and preparedness by any usually reliable carrier can be extremely costly.
NOTE: It is very reasonable to expect that many carriers will delay the installation of new ELD systems until the last weeks before the deadline. They could become virtually grounded due to a late backlog of demand.
BR Williams Logistics
One supply chain logistics company, BR Williams, has been anticipating the ELD transition since the ruling was enacted in 2015. With nearly 60 years of experience in transportation, the company operates from six Alabama and Florida locations. Through their warehousing, logistics, and distribution facilities, BR Williams’ owns nearly 2,000,000 square feet of space to warehouse, stage, sequence, sort, kit, and ship materials to the right destinations on time.
About BR Williams:
With humble beginnings back in 1958, BR Williams has grown into an award-winning supply chain management company servicing all 48 contiguous states and Canada. With facilities in Anniston (2), Oxford, Piedmont, Eastaboga, Mobile and Tallahassee, FL, BR Williams supports over 2550 customers across the Distribution, Logistics and Transportation divisions. Industries served: automotive, defense, home improvement, education, food raw materials, textiles, chemical, industrial packaging, metals (finished goods), highway safety and more.