Turn Signals – Issue 61

December 18th is the deadline to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in your commercial motor vehicles. Or is it? The federal mandate clearly applies to vehicles whose gross weight plus cargo-carrying capacity exceed 10,000 pounds and are hauling interstate freight. Trucks of any size transporting hazmat are also included. The general rule of thumb is if you are filling out paper logs today, you will need ELDs. There are some exceptions that will be discussed below, but what about vehicles moving in intrastate commerce strictly within the borders of one state? There is no simple answer. Some states follow the federal rules exactly for their intrastate trucks and ELDs are required by December 18th. However, many states define commercial vehicles at different weights, typically those weighing heavier than 26,000 pounds. Some states are delaying ELDs for intrastate trucks, such as Texas who will not require them until December 2019. Other states have not set up any intrastate requirements yet for ELDs. How can you be sure? Check with your state’s trucking association or the highway enforcement agency.

There are exemptions from the ELD requirement for certain vehicles. If a truck has been equipped before December 18th with the older FMCSA-approved electronic devices, called Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs), an ELD is not required until December 16th, 2019. Note that AOBRDs are connected to the vehicle’s electronic control module. Current telephone and tablet logging apps that are not connected to the ECM do not meet this exemption. If a truck is a 1999 model or older, it is not required to have an ELD. Also, if a vehicle travels interstate no more than 8 days in any 30-day period, it does not need an ELD unless the state where it principally operates intrastate requires ELDs. If you have drivers that today qualify for the local 100-mile interstate exemption and do not prepare paper logs, they will not have to have ELDs in their trucks.

What happens if your truck is required to have an ELD but it is not installed by December 18th? The driver will be written up for this violation and CSA points will be assessed in the company’s Hours of Service Compliance Basic. Exactly how many CSA points could be given has not been released yet by FMCSA. At a minimum, even if paper logs are handed to the trooper, the driver will be written up for no record of duty status (“no logs”), which is a serious violation. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has issued guidance to highway officers to not put vehicles without compliant ELDS out of service until April 1st next year, but you can still be shut down for serious log violations.

Here is additional guidance given by CVSA to highway officials concerning ELDs: A driver is considered to have no record of duty status when (1) the truck’s ELD is not on FMCSA’s authorized list, (2) the driver is unable to electronically transfer the ELD data to a trooper, (3) the motor carrier fails to repair a malfunctioning ELD within 8 days, and (4) the driver fails to log into the ELD system. Drivers caught improperly logging a moving truck as a personal conveyance or as a yard move will be written up for a false log. Also, failing to write up paper logs for the day an ELD malfunctions along with the previous 7 days of logs will be written up as it is now, failure to have previous 7 days’ logs.

Turn Signals is published by Nicholas Wingerter (210.863.9759) and TRUCK SAFETY.
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