Trucking industry working to comply with complex electronic logging device mandate
- Companies may face technical and security challenges in the self-certification process for electronic logging devices (ELD) as required by a federal mandate. This analysis came from a webinar with Tom Cuthbertson, vice president of regulatory compliance at Omnitracs, as reported by Fleet Owner.
- Any ELD selected by an operator has to meet strict diagnostic and malfunction reporting rules, as well as data encryption guidelines. Making sure any device is up to speed may also take more time due to the length of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines.
- Technically ELDs don't have to be certified until Dec. 18, 2017 and operators can potentially buy themselves more time by installing automatic onboard recording devices before that deadline. Cuthbertson said that will cover operators under a "grandfather clause" by giving them an additional two years beyond the ELD compliance date.
Since the FMCSA announced this mandate last year it has received positive reception from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), though faced some legal pushback from other players. The detailed requirements have made product registration a lengthy process and earlier this year some questions were raised about claims being made by certain manufacturers prior to approval.
While the switch from paper logs to electronic devices will have a big effect on long haul truckers it will affect short haul drivers operating within a 100 mile radius of their home base differently. For some waste and recycling companies this will mean different parts of their fleet will require different training to understand the new technology, which could require an adjustment period. As with any new technology, employees and managers will have to ensure that it doesn't become a distraction at the risk of safety during this transition.
According to the ATA, technology such as ELDs and other devices comprises 25% of the $9.5 billion spent on safety in the U.S. per year. This ELD mandate is one of many ongoing FMCSA developments that have affected all trucking-related industries recently. Some, such as making it easier for veterans to obtain commercial driver's licenses and requiring truck passengers to wear seatbelts, have been finalized with minimal pushback. Others, such as curriculum standards, crash preventability and sleep apnea regulations, have been more complicated and may fall to the next administration to implement.
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