Industry does not have complete ELD compliance because consequence is less: Konexial CEO

 (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has been busy at work on the North American roads, stopping trucks on the highways in the wake of its yearly international roadcheck, with today being the last of the 3-day inspection. Though the violations data and the number of trucks being inspected this year is not yet available, it can be hypothesized based the data from the previous years.

The CVSA on its official press release had mentioned that this year’s focus would be on the hours-of-service (HOS) compliance, which is entirely expected considering this roadcheck being the first since the ELD mandate was enforced two months back. The HOS compliance has historically been a problem, and the primary cause for drivers to be placed out of service every year.  

In 2017, a total of 62,013 vehicles were scrutinized of which 54,300 happened in the U.S., accounting for roughly 87.5% of the total inspection. Although the rulebook mentions multiple inspection levels, the DOT officials base their inspection on the first three levels, with level 3 being the one that involves maximum scrutiny.

Nonetheless, the most common inspection is level 1 which comprises of 37 steps including checks on “brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers. Additional items for buses include emergency exits, electrical cables, and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.”

The top driver-related violation last year was HOS with 32.3% of them being placed out of service. The second highest registered violation was driving under a wrong license class, which at 14.9% accounted for less than half the HOS violation. This year with the additional burden of the ELD mandate, HOS is set to be at the top of the violation list again.

FreightWaves caught up with Ken Evans, the CEO of Konexial, a leading ELD provider in the market to understand how the situation is on ground zero. “I think it is a little early to say as we have not got a whole lot of feedback from our customers yet, but we are monitoring the situation,” he said. “We see an uptick in ELD device demand again, and our customers ask us on how to gather data from the device.”

With regard to the ELD compliance, Evans maintained that it would take a few more months before compliance is up to the mark. “I still believe there are a significant number of trucks on the road that don’t have e-logging capabilities. This is based on the people we talk to every day,” he said.

Well before the roadcheck inspection, the industry is seeing an uptick in the back office carrier audit over the past month. DOT officials ask for 30 days to 45 days worth of data, and Konexial receives calls from its customers asking for help on gathering the data. Evans pointed out that this is unusual, as officials usually do not ask for more than a week’s worth of data.

That being said, Evans insisted that the main targets for the DOT officials during the roadcheck would be the independent drivers who don’t have any e-logging device onboard. “I think the primary thing that they are checking for is to see if drivers have a device, if they know how to use it, and if they can show the data. They are not going to go into a lot of details like if they are a minute over the HOS,” he said.

Then again, the roadcheck is not going to create a windfall in ELD compliance as the consequence of being caught without an ELD is still not career-altering for a driver, felt Evans. “If you are stopped and pulled over without an e-logging device, you would be placed out of service for 10 hours, after which you can proceed to your destination,” he said. The consequence is not hard enough for people to stop being repeat offenders, since the gravity of the penalty does not change with repeated violations.

Also, a roadcheck does not significantly increase the chances of drivers without an ELD being caught. “If your chances of getting caught before this roadcheck were 1%, during the inspection your chances are 2%. They are not going to stop every truck on the road, they can’t,” Evans said. “There might be some people who could just take off on vacation during the roadcheck.”

Two months past the hard deadline, the drivers are still predominantly in a learning curve. The clamor for ELD devices running up to the deadline helped the growth of many ELD companies, some of which have now gone out of business unable to meet the requirements and the service levels required post-ELD sales. In one such instance, Konexial has announced a support program for ELD customers of a company called One20, which is shutting down support for its F-ELD device from June 18.

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