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undefinedThe ELD Has Decreased HOS Violations, but Does it Make Trucking Safer?

Since the full-compliance of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, the hours of service (HOS) violations in the trucking industry have been reduced by half. 

This is an indisputable fact. However, the area that has improved the most, HOS Form & Manner violations had nothing to do with safety in the first place. Form & Manner is a bookkeeping procedure only. Certainly, having the paperwork right is important, but it doesn’t affect the driver’s ability.  

Many drivers argue that the mandate makes them speed up when they get out on the road after waiting for hours to get loaded, and speeding was already the number one traffic ticket issued to all drivers. 

The Trucking Industry ELD Mandate 

If you fall under the DOT HOS rules, you must have an approved FMCSA ELD. However, the DOT estimates that around ten percent of drivers do not use the e-log or are still using the automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD).

Truckers have been required to use the ELD since 2017. The only exemption for interstate transportation of goods and passengers is the expiration of the AOBRD, which was grandfathered from December 2017 until December 2018, when trucking firms were already using it. 

However, even that exemption ran out more than a year and a half ago, so the HOS and Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) compliance statistics are based on ELD-improved numbers. 

Whether you like the ELD mandate or not, it is here to stay (at least until the FMCSA finds something they like better), and you have to admit, it does cut down on form and manner HOS violations. Therefore, the ELD mandate's goal was “to improve compliance by an operator of a vehicle with HOS regulations.” They could have accomplished that by making the Form & Manner violation a correctable offense. But violations of the maximum FMCSA HOS driver hours are down as well. 

Drivers violating the 11-hours per day maximum driving hours dropped 33.6 percent since the full compliance date. Likewise, the 14-hour workday violation has plummeted 40 percent also. Those violations have dropped 63 percent overall since the DOT first started looking at the ELD to control HOS compliance in 2013.

The Question Still Remains, Does HOS Compliance Make Trucking Safer  

The numbers do not reflect that. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities in the trucking industry rose 0.9 percent in the first year of ELD full compliance. Likewise, since 2013, the trucking fatalities had increased by 1,000 to 4,951 in 2018.

However, the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by tractor-trailers has risen 3.9 percent over the same period, making it difficult to determine if there is a correlation between the ELD full compliance and trucking fatalities.

It is easier to look at the 19.5 percent rise in speeding ticket, and the 30 percent increase in speeding tickets of 15 mph or more over the speed limit to acknowledge that the ELD and HOS mandates are pushing CDL holders to violate other traffic laws to meet their daily maximum driving hours and load delivery deadlines.     

ELD & HOS Violations while Trucking in Riverside County, CA 

If you have been cited for an ELD, HOS, speeding, or other traffic violations and need legal advice, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We represent CDL holders and other drivers with traffic tickets, roadside inspection violations, and DMV NOTS Hearings. We use a flat fee to resolve your issue so that you will know going in how much you will pay regardless of how many court appearances we need to make.



The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The articleELDs improve HOS compliance; safety impact less clear

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