On December 10, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that its long-awaited- highly- debated- Final Rule mandating the use of electronic recording is officially here. Without over-simplifying the issue, the change is essentially replacing HOS log books (or RODS) with an electronic system that is built into the truck to automatically log driving hours. An ELD monitors a vehicle’s engine to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of engine operation (engine hours).
The four main elements of the ELD Rule address:
• Required ELD use by all affected commercial drivers;
• Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
• Establishes heightened standard of what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep; and
• Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology and associated recourse for drivers. (For more detail on this element, see fellow associate, Anna Newell’s, blog post: http://robertsperrymanblog.com/2015/12/17/review-of-the-fmcsas-new-rule-prohibiting-coercion-of-commercial-motor-vehicle-drivers/)
Regardless of your feelings about the new rule, it is important to take the time to learn the specifics, determine how they may affect you, and implement a transition roadmap ahead to ensure you stay compliant.
First Up: Are you affected?
If you are currently required to log Hours of Service (HOS) then the new ELD mandate affects you and essentially all other CMVs (Commercial Vehicle Carriers) that operate across state lines.
However, exemptions exist for drivers who: (1) keep records of duty status in 8 or fewer days out of every 30 working days, (2) drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations and (3) truckers operating vehicles older than model year 2000.
More likely than not, you fall into the affected category and will be required to adopt and use compliant ELDs. Now what?
Creating Your Transition Roadmap:
Your roadmap will largely depend on your current logging methods and your resources i.e. a smaller businesses may have a tighter budget and fewer resources to implement the new technology and associated training than a large company with an in-house IT department and larger budget.
All fleets and drivers must adopt and use compliant EDLs by December 16, 2017 unless they are “grandfathered in” which extends the compliance deadline until December 2019.
To be “grandfathered in, you must have previously installed an “ELD-like” device that meets the current standards outlined in 49 CFR 395.15 for Automatic On-Board Recording Devices. These “grandfathered in” devices may be used beyond the December 2019 deadline if they can be modified (think software update) to comply with the ELD specifications.
If you are not grandfathered in, you may choose to voluntarily use ELDs or transition as quickly or slowly as you’d like as long as you are compliant by the appropriate deadlines.
Now is the time to be proactive and form a transition strategy that works best for you!
For the full text on ELD’s click here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31336.pdf Keep an eye out for further discussion on the Final Rule on our blog.
Emily Littlefield is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Emily’s’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.
Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL. http://www.robertsperryman.com