Time is up. The extension to the ELD mandate that was supposed to go into effect in December 2017 officially went into effect on April 1, 2018. Even with plenty of notice, many trucks still don’t have a certified ELD installed. This includes both owner-operators and corporate fleets. If you drive temperature-controlled items, this can be problematic. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is The ELD Mandate?

In 2015, the Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted in-depth regulatory research, finding that the percentage of property-carrying commercial vehicles (CMVs) who regularly exceeded mandated hours on and off the road was far more common than they realized. Even drivers who kept meticulous driving records would sometimes exceed their hours on the road or cut their time off short in order to get their order to its final destination on time. This leads to overworked drivers burning out, and drastically increases the likelihood of an accident, injury, or public safety issue.

To improve accuracy, hold trucking companies accountable for hours of service (HOS), and to protect drivers and the passengers and communities they drive in, all CMVs are required to have electronic logging devices installed. The ELD is synched to the vehicle engine in order to accurately track and record driving times. This means no more pressuring drivers to stay on the road without it being documented, and no more staying on the road because a driver thinks they can handle it. The exception to the rule is for carriers who have already invested in and installed automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) prior to December 2017. As long as the software is EDL compliant, the deadline here for upgrading to EDL is extended to December 2019.

What Happens If Trucks Don’t Have An ELD?

The original plan was that CMVs without ELDs would be placed out of service and have to wait with their freight for another driver to arrive and transport their delivery. This could prove problematic for a variety of reasons, mainly because it is unlikely that another driver would be in the nearby vicinity. This causes logistic problems for all drivers, regardless of what they are hauling, but is particularly of concern for trucks with temperature-controlled items. Fortunately, drivers have been granted a bit more leeway.

If found without a registered ELD or grandfathered AOBRD, all drivers will be placed out of service for 10 hours if carrying property and 8 hours if carrying passengers. The violation will be recorded, and the driver may be cited with either a ticket or a civil penalty. During this delay, the driver must produce their paper HOS. If proof of HOS is found to be insufficient or in violation, the driver will remain out of service—and another driver will need to be dispatched. If the HOS passes, and once the 8 or 10 hours is up, and compliant HOS has been presented, the driver may continue on to their original destination.

It is important to keep a copy of the inspection report and the bill of lading after the out of service, because if the driver is stopped again, the safety officer will need to see the copy. The inspection report is only valid if heading to the original final destination.

What Happens Once The Driver Reaches Their Final Destination?

Once a driver meets their final destination, they must obtain a compliant ELD or they will be subject to the out-of-service process once again. The only exception is if the driver is returning to their place of employment or an assigned location where the ELD will be installed.

Drivers and trucking companies must also be aware that all ELD violations will be counted against the motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which may increase the likelihood of an investigation by the FMCSA.

What Happens To Your Produce In The Meantime?

A 10-hour delay or a paper HOS violation could prove detrimental to trucks carrying temperature-controlled items. Each driver must familiarize themselves with their truck’s operating systems and what they will need to do to ensure that they understand the procedures and keep items cool. If refrigeration is self-contained, the inventory should be fine as long as the procedures are followed. If the refrigeration is engine-driven, drivers will need to keep the truck running—or run the truck at intervals as per the refrigerator specs. If the truck is only insulated, odds are that the perishables will not remain at temp.

While the expense of ELDs can prove costly, especially for large fleets, the cost of delays, compromised loads, and the financial costs associated with violations and delays will cost exponentially more.

What Happens with The Produce if a Refrigerated Truck is Placed Out of Service by the CVSA? was last modified: by