A new bill proposed by the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday would repeal or delay for two years, until December 2019, the electronic logging device mandate that was set to become law this December 18th.
As directed under the proposal, the Department of Transportation would “analyze whether a full or targeted delay in ELD implementation and enforcement would be appropriate and, if so, what options DOT has within its statutory authority to provide temporary regulatory relief until all ELD implementation challenges can be resolved.”
Smaller carriers have historically opposed the ELD mandate, pointing to issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers and cybersecurity concerns, among others, that make compliance with the mandate untenable.
However, groups such as the American Trucking Associations, the Alliance for Diver Safety and Security and larger operators oppose any effort to delay the ELD mandate. They argue the rule will improve drivers’ quality of life by enforcing Hours of Service (HOS) caps, promote better overall highway safety and deliver more driver job security, as well.
The ELD Extension Act of 2017 was drafted as a response to a report by the Committee that cited a “heavy burden of this mandate, especially on small carriers,” estimated to cost more than $2 billion to implement. The ELD mandate originated in the Bush administration, but was advanced and signed as an Obama administration rulemaking initiative.
Back in January, President Trump signed an Executive Order which requires the elimination of two existing regulations for every newly proposed federal rulemaking. The current ELD mandate cost estimates meet the threshold outlined in President Trump’s Executive Order.
Whether the mandate goes live next year or the year after that, the benefits of using an ELD solution with integrated GPS fleet tracking are getting lost in the current debate about costs. In reality, the costs equal just few extra dollars each month, and using an ELD with fleet management features is extremely valuable in the long run.
Carriers that move ahead with implementing solutions that meet ELD requirements and support broader business operations and fleet management will have a leg up on the competition, with:
- Higher productivity and profits. ELDs with fleet management capabilities make it easy to optimize routes, assign jobs efficiently, identify which vehicles are under- or over-utilized across the entire fleet, dispatch the closest available field technician for service and more.
- Lower fuel costs. ELDs integrated with fleet management software will identify common issues like poorly maintained vehicles, needless engine idling and indirect routing, which cause excessive fuel consumption and unnecessary expenses.
- Improved Driver Behavior. Fleet management software is also able to detect unsafe driving habits that contribute to fuel waste, including harsh acceleration, speeding and harsh braking, and notify fleet managers for driver coaching.
- Longer equipment life. Fleet management systems automatically monitor engine and vehicle systems and provide reminders to schedule necessary maintenance or repairs.
- Minimized violations. ELDs with fleet management software have intelligent compliance capabilities that will proactively alert drivers before they exceed the permitted HOS (and rack up hefty fines).
This is a fluid situation and we’ll be watching closely as the bill makes its way through the House and Senate. But with so little time remaining before the mandate’s original go-live date, it’s worth seeing what a robust ELD solution with broader fleet management capabilities can do for your business.
To learn how to ensure your fleet is compliant, visit: ELD Compliance