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ELDs coming to California intrastate trucking in 2024, trailing rest of US

Golden State, often a trendsetter in regulation, lags behind on ELD requirement for trucks that stay within state borders; comment period open

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

A regulation that would require intrastate carriers in California to be equipped with ELDs is open for a comment period by the California Highway Patrol, with a projected in-service date for the rule at the start of 2024.

Unlike other regulatory actions in which the Golden State gets out in front of other parts of the country in implementing regulations on safety and the environment, the state is behind on this one, according to Sgt. Dave Kelly of the CHP. 

In a lengthy explanation of the reason for the proposed rule published by the CHP, the agency is straightforward on its core message: “Currently state regulations do not require an ELD as the method for preparing an intrastate driver’s (Record of Duty Status) and are subsequently not compatible with federal regulations.”

Interstate does not necessarily mean a state line is crossed. For example, drayage cargo that stays within California but is hauling freight that came in via a port or is headed that way is  considered interstate. 

That interstate sector has been using ELDs under the federal mandate requiring the devices to be used to monitor compliance with hours of service regulations.

The impact statement published by the CHP goes through a lengthy exercise trying to estimate the number of trucks that would be affected by the rule. It concedes there are some things it does not know, such as how many intrastate vehicles already use ELDs, because even though there is no ELD mandate for them, they are subject to HOS regulations. But those vehicles now can record HOS data on paper logs. 

The agency comes up with a precise figure: 53.9% of what it estimates are 366,800 drivers to be affected by the rule are not using ELDs now, and that means 197,043 vehicles will need to step up to meet the requirement.

“We’ve been telling the industry for some time that this has been coming,” Kelly told FreightWaves. He said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was “on us” because its state rules on intrastate drivers using ELDs are not in alignment with the federal ELD rule, even though intrastate drivers must follow the HOS rules that the ELDs are supposed to monitor.

“We are anticipating an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024,” Kelly said. 

The California rule keeps federal exemptions for ELD use for several types of driving, including trucks that don’t operate more than eight days within a 30-day period, trucks in a “driveaway/towaway” operation and trucks manufactured before 2000.

Kelly said he believes California is one of only a handful of states where the intrastate ELD requirement is not on the books. He added he had been told by a third party that the number of states not in compliance might be as low as two, with California one of the pair. (Kelly said he was not certain what other state or states might be in the same position as California on intrastate ELDs.)

“This is going to happen,” Joe Rajkovacz. director of government affairs and communications at the Western States Trucking Association (WSTA), said of the rule. A large number of WSTA members do operate mostly short-haul routes, which would have allowed them to avoid the ELD mandate in the past.

But Rajkovacz said his organization is not happy with one thing the state didn’t do: bring the air-mile exclusion into line with federal rules. 

The current federal rule exempts drivers from ELD mandates if all their movements are within a 150 air-mile radius of the base of their operations and that their number of hours worked doesn’t exceed 14 hours. The necessary data can be recorded on paper logs, which for most of the trucking industry disappeared with the start of the ELD mandate. 

But the California exclusion is 100 miles and a 12-hour limitation.

What that means, Rajkovacz said, is that a California truck working intrastate faces that tighter limit, while a truck that is considered interstate, like a drayage truck, has broader limits of 150 miles/14 hours even if it is doing all its work in California, which is the case of many drayage vehicles.

Rajkovacz said WSTA was hoping to see California align with the broader limits as well, given that its new requirements on intrastate ELDs are part of an effort to come into compliance with federal law. 

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  1. Cory D Mullis

    why would you even want to implicate eld ?? so it records actual hrs whoooo ! i was a driver fur 15yrs and absolutely loved what i did. as much as i did i still quit driving when eld’s were mandated ! thats where i drawed the line. eld are’nt safer its actualy opposite ! so why would you if you look at the facts from the rest of country ! more wreck’s, more fatality’s, more drivers driving tired and who knows maybe right behind your daughter/son !! its crazy to think thats what everyone wants! so if its not about safety you gotta ask what is it for ? simple trucking is overregulated already , they want more control over the driver’s ! and for you drivers that cry about it being overregulated just keep crying they know you’ll keep taking it its why they can and will . have fun watching that clock tick all day !!

  2. Joe

    Really we do the clearing house we pay road taxes we pay state taxes we pay clear air tax we pay port fees we pay twics we pay high fuel prices and still you want more

  3. Donald Cunat

    The endless regulation attempts at hours of service is rediculous. Theres been no reduction in accidents . If you travel at night it’s obvious drivers are falling asleep. Rules made by regulators home for dinner every night by 5pm are unrealistic. Work when you can sleep when your tired but watch your hours should be the rule. It is not one size fits all.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.