Is ELD an Unnecessary Expense Ordered by “Big Brother”?
The Federally mandated implementation date of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is quickly approaching, and yet many questions remain about its expense and performance. If you are unfamiliar with ELD, it is a logging device hooked to the vehicle’s engine to track when the vehicle is in-service. This Congressionally approved device is supposed to make it easier to monitor Hours of Service (HOS) and record mandatory rest periods without resorting to memory and paper logs. However, many question the wisdom of sanctioning a device that will make it more difficult for small operators to compete because of the expense.
Many put the initial cost at $1000 per unit and It will cost about $500 but can be as much as $850 per year, per vehicle depending on location. And, this is California after all. Although it is cheaper than a lot of necessary maintenance or repairs, many see it as a meddlesome government’s unnecessary expense heaped on by “Big Brother” with no return on investment. At least maintenance adds life to the vehicle.
Also, there is skepticism about the ability of individuals to hack the ELD and create havoc for commercial drivers and fleet management.
Who Is Exempt?
In most cases, everyone must comply with the rules established by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and approved by Congress even Canadian and Mexican drivers, but the agency exempts the following from the ELD rule:
· Drivers that use a paper log 8 or fewer days during a 30-day timeframe.
· Towaway drivers who transport commodity vehicles, such as RVs or Mobile Home that are for sale.
· Vehicles made before the year 2000 (model year).
The Three Phases of Implementation
According to FMCSA the timeline for a three-phase implementation period started on 16 February 2016 when use was voluntary. From 16 to 18 December, the FMCSA directed voluntary use of the device along with Automatic on Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs), paper logs, or logging software to record duty status, which is Phase I. Phase II begins on 18 December and runs through 16 December 2019, during this period drivers will be allowed to use a self-certified ELD (check here to see the devices *registered with the FMCSA) or an AOBRD that was installed before 18 December. In Phase III, 16 December 2019 and forward, all mandated users must utilize an FMCSA registered ELD.
It would be advisable for small operations and independents to get the install done as early as possible as the bigger fleets with more money will likely demand more attention from installers the closer we get to the 18 December implementation date. And, although FMCSA has only required owners to provide their drivers with a manual on the ELD, some translation and additional training may be required.
*NOTE: FMCSA does not endorse any ELD.
Consult Bigger & Harman, APC
When you have questions pertaining to Federal or CA requirements for commercial drivers, call Bigger & Harman the Central Valley traffic ticket defense team for a consultation, 661-349-9300, or send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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