The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced Wednesday that small trucking companies will not be exempt from the electronic logging device mandate. While ELDs have been required since December 2017, the Small Business in Transport Coalition lobbied for carriers with 50 or fewer employees to be exempt from the mandate.
91% of all carriers operate fewer than 6 trucks and 97.3% operate fewer than 20 trucks. If this exemption was allowed it would have reversed the safety impact of ELDs such as reducing the falsification of HOS and the administrative paper work involved with manual paper logs.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also sought and was denied exemption last year, citing financial concerns and the risk of non compliant ELDs hitting the market before the hard deadline in December.
Non compliant devices are out there, and the onus is placed on carriers to check whether ELDs are compliant before they purchase and install them. There are certain things to look for when choosing a compliant ELD provider. See the 20 questions to ask your ELD provider.
The mandate was written to include some exemptions. The FMCSA has granted a few additional exemptions, such as a five-year transition period for the Motion Picture Association of America. However, arguments from the OOIDA and SBTC have not gained traction with the FMCSA. With the deadline so close, it is unlikely any further exemptions or extensions will be granted.
Small or large, the FMCSA is showing that they mean business when it comes to the ELD mandate. Some companies are still allowed to use automatic on-board recording devices, though AOBRDs must be replaced with ELDs by December 16th, 2019. FMCSA has indicated that this deadline will not be further extended; and expects all carriers to adjust to the new reality, or else face penalties — hefty fines, driver suspensions, higher CSA scores, or long and expensive audits, to name a few.
All carriers should focus on offering continued training and support for drivers and back-office staff to ensure a smooth roll-out and use of ELDs. It helps if the ELD provider is able to provide technical and customer service and offer useful help content and training materials such as videos to get started and troubleshoot. .
Want to make a seamless transition? For more information on transitioning to ELD, questions to consider before purchasing, and how to prepare staff, check out our ELD resource page.