Now that 2021 has rolled around, we’ve had a year to get used to the new ELD (electronic logging device) standards for American truckers. In case you haven’t been paying attention, in 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a new ELD mandate. It gave commercial trucking companies and motor carriers until December 16, 2019 to equip each of their trucks with an ELD. Here’s an overview of the law, the new rules and what questions the 2020 ELD mandate raised in Minnesota.
Changes in 2020
The ELD mandate has been a gradual transition away from old methods of recording hours of service (HOS) such as AOBRDs or EOBRs. The FMCSA requires that all commercial motor carriers must comply with the new electronic standards by implementing an approved device in each of their commercial vehicles. The new ELDs keep records of duty statuses (RODs) automatically, which cuts down on paperwork for truckers and makes compliance easier.
Since the FMCSA gave commercial motor carriers three years to comply with the law, everyone should have been prepared with ELDs in 2020. Those who did not comply were subject to roadside inspections—and fines, up to thousands of dollars, for failing to comply with the mandate.
There are certain exemptions, according to the FMCSA.
“[T]he following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required):
- Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
- Driveaway-towaway drivers (where the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported) [and]
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.”
Drivers are also required to carry paper log sheets (in case the ELD malfunctions), a certified, registered, regulation-compliant ELD and its user manual, an instruction sheet to report ELD malfunctions and the instructions for data transfer to and from the ELD.
Questions and concerns
As the mandate has gone fully into effect, many companies and drivers have had concerns. For example, some areas prohibit drivers from using ELDs, such as government-related work and vehicles in restricted locations. Companies working as government contractors should ask the government agency how they expect the motor carrier to comply with the FMCSA and government restrictions at the same time.
Fines and penalties are also on the rise, since the transition period is over. Motor carriers who don’t want to pay stiff penalties have likely already complied with the new laws. Anyone who refuses may see increasing consequences until they do (or go out of business).
Finally, truckers have been concerned about overcrowded rest stops. With automatic logging, there’s little room for error, so they may have no choice but to stop at the nearest truck stop or rest stop when it’s time to take a break.
If you have questions about the 2020 ELD mandate or need FMCSA-compliant freight shipping in Minnesota, call K-Way Express, Inc. right away.