A new bill proposes to delay the ELD Mandate in the U.S., how does it affect you?
It’s been just under two years since the “ELD mandate” was first announced by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The mandate, which requires truckers to use electronic logging devices instead of traditional paper logbooks, has received mixed reactions from industry players. The goal of the mandate is to increase safety and reduce driver fatigue, by forcing drivers to strictly adhere to HOS regulations through the use of ELDs. Paper logbooks are easily manipulated and forged, while ELDs autonomously record data such as miles driven, driving time, engine hours and location information. Upon request from government officials, drivers will be forced to transfer over the data collected by ELDs through wireless web/email, USB2.0, and/or Bluetooth.
A bill introduced by Brian Babin into the House of Representatives is aiming to delay the ELD Mandate until 2019, and on July 17th it was voted 31-20 to be sent to the full House for consideration. Brian Babin (TX-36) and his supporters main argument for the delay is that small carriers will disproportionately bear new costs associated with ELD implementation. Compared to large fleets with thousands of trucks on the roads, these smaller fleets operate on extremely thin margins and any alteration in operating costs justifiably raises concerns. However, there have been some powerful arguments to move forward with the mandate and do away with a delay.
Organizations such as the American Trucking Association (ATA) are continuing to push the mandate forward to its prospective December 18th deadline. Citing the benefits from the Final Report by the FMCSA that there has been an 11.7% drop in crash rates and 50% drop in HOS violations for those who have implemented ELDs. They go even further by attacking those who wish to slow down and delay the mandate saying; “Supporters of a delay are attempting to accomplish, almost at the 11th hour, what they’ve been unable to do in the courts, Congress or with the agency: roll back this common sense, data-supported regulation based on at best specious and at worst outright dishonest arguments.”
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The timing of this bill should be of comfort to the ATA. With less than 5 months remaining until the mandate takes effect, the bill to delay seems to simply be a political move so that representatives can illustrate they were “against it all along”. There likely isn’t enough time for the bill to pass through all the legislative doors to make an impact. So, for now, it seems like the U.S. is going to be implementing the ELD mandate on schedule. Meaning that all carriers must have an ELD compliant device by December 18th, 2017.
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