Truckers won’t immediately be told to stop driving if they don’t comply with a new rule that requires the use of electronic logging devices to digitally track the hours they drive and starts Dec. 18.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, an agency charged with enforcing the so-called ELD mandate, has set April 1 to begin applying the out-of-service criteria related to the pending regulation.
The move will “ease the transition” and will “help those motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement,” Collin Mooney, the alliance’s executive director, wrote in a Aug. 25 letter to Daphne Jefferson, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“CVSA member jurisdictions have used this phased in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in the regulatory requirements,” Mooney said.
Mooney said the alliance strongly opposes any delays in implementing the regulation.
Starting on Dec. 18, “inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD,” he said.
But waiting the additional months before revoking driving privileges “will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods,” Mooney said.
The ELD mandate has been a contentious issue for the trucking industry.
While the rule has the support from the American Trucking Associations, a trade group representing independent truckers tried to stop implementation, arguing that the digital tracking violates driver rights.
In June, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association lost a bid to have the Supreme Court hear the group’s argument against the requirement by the Department of Transportation and its FMCSA division to install the devices.
OOIDA argued that requiring ELDs on commercial vehicles would violate truck drivers’ privacy and foster carrier harassment over driving hours. The mandate will impact more than 3.5 million commercial drivers.
The FMCSA has pushed for electronic logging to prevent driver cheating on paper logs. The devices link to a semi-truck’s engine, capturing the movement of the truck and recording how much time a trucker is at the wheel. By law, drivers are limited to 11 hours of driving daily.
The FMCSA estimates that ELDs will prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries and save 26 lives annually by keeping exhausted drivers off the road.
Switching to electronic logs is expected to eliminate more than $1.6 billion in paperwork costs for motor carriers and law enforcement agencies reviewing drivers’ logs, according to the federal agency.