Trumping Regulations, Vol. 2: ELD Mandate Likely Moving Forward


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.

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