Motions to delay ELD compliance emerge in Congress

Posted on 07/20/2017 by David Radke

Fleet companies should determine which ELD is both compliant and best for their operation.

A bill filed by Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babin called the ELD Extension Act of 2017 could delay the compliance date for the mandate by two years, according to Overdrive Magazine.

The bill was conveniently filed one day after a House panel suggested that the U.S. Department of Transportation conduct a study to determine whether a full or partial delay of the electronic logging device mandate would be beneficial to the industry.

Confusion creates opposition

Both the recommendation from the house and Babin's bill point to concerns regarding technical challenges of implementing ELDs among owner-operators and a lack of guidelines regarding how the mandate will be enforced.

Todd Spencer, vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, pointed out in a press release that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has yet to specify a single ELD that would be compliant, leaving consumers confused and worried that a lack of information could land them out of compliance with the new regulation.

"We thank Rep. Babin for realizing the serious problems associated with implementation that can only be avoided by putting off the mandate," Spencer said in a press release.

THUD appropriations bill strengthens case for delay

The recommendation from the House came from the The House Transportation Committee's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, which calls for a review of the ELD options on the market today, according to Heavy Duty Trucking.

The directive specifies that the FMCSA inspect the technology platforms for two aspects. First, to determine which are compliant with the regulation as it stands today. Second, to determine the user-friendliness of the interfaces.

Though many large carriers already utilize these platforms, the committee's concerns mainly relate to smaller organizations.

"The [ELD] mandate is projected to cost over $2,000,000,000 to implement making it one of the most expensive of all transportation rulemakings advanced under the previous administration," they wrote in a report.

The committee added that small carriers will bear the brunt of this burden, and with no relief in the form of bottom-line gains as a result.

In addition to the sheer cost of choosing and implementing an ELD platform, the committee pointed out issues such as scarce connectivity in remote areas and introducing cyber vulnerabilities to truckers. Additionally, many worry that having this data stored electronically could be inviting harassment as well as a loss of privacy, Supply Chain Dive reported.

ATA argues for 2017 ELD mandate compliance

While OOIDA is encouraging the delay of the mandate, the American Trucking Associations maintains its position that the rule should be implemented sooner rather than later.

Bill Sullivan, ATA's vice president of advocacy, told HDT that, for the sake of commercial driver and other highway users' safety, the bill should not be delayed any longer. Sullivan continued to state that ATA members would have sufficient guidance to help them work through any concerns they have.

Some industry professionals don't believe that, in the end, these efforts will affect the compliance date.

"The original bill mandating the use of ELDs passed through a Republican House and Senate,"  Pete Allen, executive vice president of MiX Telematics, an ELD supplier, told HDT. "How likely is it that a Republican House and Senate will repeal their own bill?"

Though the fate of the ELD mandate's compliance date seems uncertain, the fact remains that, as of now, fleet services should strive to implement ELDs in their operations by Dec. 18. For advice and assistance in understanding how your operation can implement these devices, reach out to Lee TranServices.

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