Efforts to stop ELD rule focused on price

Claims of high costs could spur legislative intervention

There is growing talk of a possible bill in Congress that would kill the upcoming electronic logging device (ELD) rule that goes into effect on Dec. 18 of this year due to claims that the devices represent too high a cost for individual truckers to implement, sources have told FreightWaves.

While no physical bill exists at this point, the mere conversation is enough to cause another disruption to a process that has been anything but smooth to this point. ELD manufacturers are ready with devices, but there is concern among them that issues will appear due to the large numbers of carriers and owner-operators that are waiting until the last minute, if at all, to purchase. Continued talk that the rule may be delayed or cancelled only adds to the concern that many will wait until the deadline nears to purchase.

A recent Morgan Stanley report found that nearly 30% of carriers are not yet in full compliance with the rule and 8% have equipped less than 33% of their fleets. It also said that 15% of carriers do not expect to be fully compliant when Dec. 18 rolls around. That lack of compliance undoubtedly played a role in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) announcing that it will not issue out-of-service orders for not having a compliant ELD as of Dec. 18. Instead, violations will be issued and out-of-service orders will commence on April 1, 2018.

Carriers using a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) have until Dec. 16, 2019, to comply with the ELD provision providing the AOBRD meets the requirements of 49 C.F.R. 395.15.

“Setting an April 1, 2018, effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new requirement before vehicles are placed out of service for ELD violations,” CVSA said.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) had asked the Supreme Court to intervene and rule that FMCSA’s ELD rule violated the 4th Amendment rights of truck drivers against warrantless search and seizure. It also argued that the rule did not meet Congressional requirements before FMCSA finalized it. A Chicago 7th Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel heard the case last September, but rejected OOIDA’s arguments in October. An appeal to the entire 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was also rejected and in June the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

That was expected to be the end of it, but since then there have been two separate bills introduced seeking to delay the rule. One instructs FMCSA to study whether delay or changes to the rule are appropriate; the other simply delays implementation two years. A separate amendment attached to a must-pass spending bill by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) that would have denied funding for enforcement of the rule was removed by the representative yesterday.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.