Since April of this year, a new ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate was passed for all truckers in the U.S. These devices record a whole slew of different data points, but were primarily introduced to examine a trucker’s hours of services (HOS). Essentially, it was put forth to keep truckers from working excessive hours without overtime pay, but feedback from the logistics industry on the new law is mixed. What some have been waiting years for is a nightmare to others.
Why Was the ELD Law Passed?
As stated before, the new ELD mandate was passed for the primary purpose of tracking the hours truckers are working. Long-haul trucking can be a fatiguing job which is both unhealthy for drivers, as well as dangerous to those alongside them on the road.
Studies have been conducted which indicate long-haul driving for periods of over 10-12 hours at a time puts drivers at higher risk of getting in accidents. For these reasons, restrictions were created and enforced regarding the amount of work time truckers can log per day. These were recorded on paper logbooks.
The issue with paper logbooks is that they aren’t always reliable. Truckers can tamper with the records and present false information to avoid penalties. False information is also logged frequently by mistake when truckers attempt to fill in data from previous work days. In an initiative to stop these issues, laws were put in place which require all trucks to have electronic logging devices, or ELD’s.
When Was the ELD Law Passed?
The ELD law was officially created on February 16th, 2016. So, if it was over 2 years ago, why is it all the hype now?
ELD’s are very expensive to purchase, install, and maintain. As a result, law enforcement officials knew they would have to assume an adjustment time. The law was passed on February 16th, 2016, but did not start being enforced until December 18th, 2017. For vehicle equipped with an AORBD, the units must be replaced with modern ELD’s by December 26th, 2019 at the latest.
Tensions Over ELD Mandate
While the ELD mandate was passed to make the transportation trucking industry a safer, more fair work environment, feelings towards the new law aren’t all positive. When truckers used paper logbooks, it was easier to misstate information. However, the issue wasn’t that truckers were stating too many hours – it was that they were stating fewer hours than they actually worked.
For truckers, time is money. The time spent driving their current load also carries the opportunity cost of missing other potential pickups. In these instances, falsely stating their hours to work beyond their paid time allows them to move loads quicker and make more pickups. With the new ELD mandate, this is no longer an option.
Truckers can now only work 11 hours per day, with 8 hours allotted for driving. In other words, they have 3 hours of time that can be used idly, loading, or unloading their truck. However, the driver can’t be on the road for work more than 8 hours per day. Previously, truckers might make a 10-hour delivery in a single-day, and write 8 hours on their log book to make sure they cut down the time it takes to go pick up another load. With the new law, this delivery would take 2 days’ time to finish.
The industry has certainly changed. With more frustrated than happy truckers on the road, it’s uncertain to say just how many tickets are going to be issued in the next few years as a result of ELD law violations. One thing is for certain – law enforcement is cracking down hard on the new mandate. Truckers are prone to both heavy fines and potentially getting their trucking licenses revoked for ELD violations.
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