ELD rule set to be enforced starting Dec. 18

Violations and citations for ELD and HOS violations will be handed out starting on Dec. 18, says CVSA. Out-of-service orders, though, will not begin until April 1, 2018.

Violations and citations for ELD and HOS violations will be handed out starting on Dec. 18, says CVSA. Out-of-service orders, though, will not begin until April 1, 2018.

Violations and citations will be issued, says CVSA executive director

When the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) announced in late August that it would delay out-of-service orders for ELD violations until April 1, 2018, many cheered the decision. According to Collin Mooney, executive director of CVSA, many assumed that meant officials would not enforce the ELD rule at all until April. That is simply not true, he told an audience of fleet executives attending the American Trucking Associations’ MCE 2017 conference in Orlando on Saturday.

“When we sent out the press release, a lot of people thought when we announced the compliance delay that meant we would do a ‘soft enforcement,’” he said. Violations, warnings and citations will be handed out starting on Dec. 18, he said. Only out-of-service violations are being delayed.

Mooney was joined by Joe DeLorenzo, Director of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance at the ‎Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Jim Ward, CEO of D.M. Bowman on a panel discussing the upcoming ELD rule.

DeLorenzo and Mooney both pushed back on the claims that the ELD mandate is a new enforcement tool – it is simply a new way to record hours-of-service compliance they said.

“The underlying hours-of-service rules have not changed,” Mooney emphasized. “However, for some, this will be their first introduction to hours-of-service rules, and that’s why you see all the fear mongering.”

DeLorenzo went through an enforcement presentation that hit on some key questions FMCSA keeps getting from carriers and drivers. First, he said, current HOS exemptions are unchanged by the ELD rule. Exemptions from the ELD rule include drivers who do not prepare Records of Duty Status (RODS) for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, those that operate in in drive away-tow away operations and when the vehicle’s engine is model year 1999 or older.

He clarified a few of those points, including that the 8 days in 30-day period exemption is not a calendar month, but rather a rolling 30-day period. “You don’t want to figure that out on Day 8, so you need to think about how you set up your runs,” DeLorenzo said.

Also, if you own a 2000 model year truck but your engine is 1999, you do not have to install an ELD. If you have installed an AOBRD device before Dec. 18, 2017, you do not have to purchase a compliant ELD until 2019, however, if you purchase a new truck, you can’t move that AOBRD into it, you would have to purchase an ELD.

One question that came up during the Q&A portion of the event that is on a lot of fleets’ minds is what happens if they install a device in their trucks and then find out later that it is not compliant. DeLorenzo said that there are at least 135 devices on FMCSA’s self-certification list, but in that situation, it would be handled on a case-by-case basis, as long the device was on the certification list when the fleet purchased it.

“Most of the issues we’ve seen are software-related, so in most cases that can be handled without the fleet even knowing,” he noted.

Also addressed was what happens when a driver is 5 or 15 minutes over his allotted drive time in a day.

“Hours-of-service enforcement isn’t going to change,” DeLorenzo said. “We start to get concerned when we see a pattern of violations. One violation isn’t going to change your safety score.”

Mooney added that CVSA doesn’t “consider that consequential, but it is a violation.” It was noted that 15-minute HOS violations are recorded differently than other, more flagrant violations.

Another concern that was raised during the session was personal conveyance. That has not changed, DeLorenzo noted. “It’s just that the ELD knows the truck is moving.”

Under normal driving situations, the ELD must know the vehicle’s location within 1 mile, but when a driver switches to personal conveyance, that accuracy decreases to 10 miles, DeLorenzo said. He also reminded the audience that personal conveyance, while addressed in the rules, remains a fleet decision as to whether to allow it or not and under what circumstances.

One bit of advice DeLorenzo did offer was for drivers to use the annotation function of ELDs. Much like paper logs where drivers can write notes to explain situations, ELDs have the same functionality.

“Don’t just make an edit,” he said,” make an annotation. Those notes there, they will be there for your company, and they will be there for enforcement.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight has covered the U.S. trucking and transportation community for more than 10 years, winning numerous regional and national editorial awards, including a Jesse. H. Neal Award. Prior to working on FreightWaves, Brian spent 10 years at industry trade magazine Fleet Owner, and prior to that managed daily newspaper editorial operations.