Last month we reported that the regulatory freeze imposed by the White
House left an aura of uncertainty over the future of pending regulatory
initiatives which were set to go into effect this year. In follow up,
this month we report that the regulatory freeze will likely not affect
the implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's
(FMCSA's) Electronic Logging Device Mandate ("ELD Mandate").
The ELD Mandate requires the mandatory use of electronic logging devices
(ELDs) by drivers currently required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS)
records of duty status. These devices are aimed at allowing drivers to
keep accurate track of their hours of service. The ELD Mandate is set
to take effect on December 18, 2017, following a two-year compliance window
allotted to allow the transportation industry to sufficiently equip their
vehicles with ELDs.
It is estimated that this regulation will save truckers more than $1 billion
in annual costs, attributable to the elimination of paperwork and logbooks.
It will also allow law enforcement personnel to review a driver's
records more efficiently.
The regulation is not without controversy; however, because it may push
out smaller operators who may struggle to incur the additional costs of
equipping their vehicles with ELDs. The costs of this hardware is estimated
at approximately $1,500.00 per truck; a cost that can add up depending
on the number of trucks in operation. Although the costs may not appear
to be exuberant, this regulation is yet another in a slew of tougher regulations
from the FMCSA enacted in the previous 18 months; including regulations
determining the number of allowable hours, lengths of shift and time between
shifts that commercial drivers must observe.
The White House's freeze on regulatory implementation may temporarily
ease some of these concerns; and it would not be unreasonable to assume
that some of these regulations will be rolled-back under a conservative
administration. However, the ELD Mandate is likely here to stay. This
is largely due to the fact that the ELD Mandate was stipulated in law
by Congress and executed by FMCSA. Further, it technically already became
law in December 2015, and is merely set to take effect this year. Whereas,
the White House's current freeze prevents "new" regulation
from being enacted.
Barring an act of Congress, expect the ELD Mandate to take full effect
on December 18, 2017.