The Delay Is Over for ELD Mandate

Truckers are required to use Electronic Logging Devices Beginning in April

Enforcement began: April 1
Waiver for Leased Trucks: 30-day exemption until April 19 8-day exemption after April 19
Waiver Period Ends: April 19
Full Compliance: April 19



Nearly six years after Congress mandated the use of Electronic Logging Devices for the trucking industry, the long-delayed enforcement of the regulations began on April 1, 2018. The rule went into effect Dec. 18, but regulators did not place vehicles out of service or assess points to carriers.

Joseph DeLorenzo, Director of Enforcement and Compliance at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that normal enforcement begins in April. That means if a driver is stopped and he or she doesn’t have an ELD, it will be treated the same way as driving without a paper hours-of-service log would have been in the past.

“So it’s a violation for failing to have a record of duty status, and the vehicle would be placed out of service and those points would count against your SMS (Safety Measure System) score,” DeLorenzo said.

The ELD mandate was designed to improve driver safety by reducing driver fatigue, which has been linked to truck crashes and driver fatalities. Significant trucking associations, including the American Trucking Associations, and large carriers endorsed the rule, calling it critically important to safety. LMTA members have also supported the regulations.

Despite that, the ELD mandate has been the source of controversy. Some smaller carriers and owner-operators protested the regulations, saying the devices were too expensive. Many truckers also complained about the technology’s intrusiveness. Some worried the ELDs would hamper their ability to make their own decisions when it came to scheduling.

In October, truckers protested on both counts to delay the rules. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association unsuccessfully challenged the rules in federal court. Meanwhile, the Truck Renting and Leasing Association convinced federal regulators to allow drivers who lease trucks to use paper logs for up to 30 days. But the waiver period ends on April 19.

“The regulations originally allowed an eight-day exemption,” DeLorenzo said. “But TRALA asked regulators for more time while the group did some IT development on ELDs to help with inter-operability.”

DeLorenzo said drivers who have to lease a truck for whatever reason, such as a breakdown or additional demand, can operate with a paper log during the exemption period.

But after April 19, drivers will be back to the eight-day exemption, he said.

DeLorenzo said there are other exceptions to the ELD mandate, but the first step in the process for carriers is to figure out whether they’re subject to the ELD rule. “The average trucking company that fills out logs is going to be subject to the ELD rule because they’re filling out logs regularly,” he said.
The two most common exemptions are for trucks built before 2000 and trucks used only on occasion — for industries where trucking is not their primary business, DeLorenzo said. If the firm doesn’t have to fill out a log more than eight times out of a rolling 30-day period, the company can just stick with paper and not worry about investing time and money in an ELD.

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