Enforcement Disparities, Device Confusion Ring in First Months of ELD Mandate

 

CCJ --- Drivers have received 35,000 citations since January for failing to have a registered electronic logging device, making it the top violation since the ELD mandate went into effect.  Typically, the non-registered device citation comes because drivers are using an AOBRD, which doesn’t need to be registered. Drivers don’t know how to explain that it’s an AOBRD and law enforcement doesn’t know to ask the question.

This is just one of many ELD implementation challenges; others include uneven enforcement, lack of training, vendor issues and general confusion about data availability and exemptions.

Carriers who adopted ELDs just before the deadline often didn’t have the time to adequately train drivers how to use the systems. Many also lack expertise within their operation to integrate the systems into their back office.

The sheer volume and lack of vetting of vendors has led to problems. More than 200 unique manufacturers (21 of those are new since February) have registered 364 devices (53 new since February).

ELD makers “self-certify” their devices for inclusion in FMCSA’s list of compliant vendors so there is no third-party review and no government oversight. The agency has a process if there is suspicion that a vendor shouldn’t be on the list, but “they have yet to remove anyone.”. Fleets need to push hard to get problems corrected or hope that their contract gives them recourse in the event of a problem.

FMCSA says they have no regulatory authority over ELD makers, only over carriers. Thus, the agency puts the burden of due diligence on the carrier.

Because of unresolved issues with some of the systems, several carriers are going after vendors for contractual damages.

As the industry comes to terms with enforcement of the ELD mandate, FMCSA recommends carriers pay particular attention to:

  • Unassigned drive time. Anytime a driver forgets to log in and they drive it will show up. Then the next driver must either except or reject that entry.
  • Odometer jumps/skips when a driver unplugs the ELD to use the vehicle for personal conveyance. Carriers can avoid violations by having a personal conveyance policy for when FMCSA asks for the odometer skip report.
  • Violations – FMCSA will ask for the violation report.
  • Maintenance of supporting documents.
  • Roadside violations. Challenge them when it appears enforcement made an error, she says.
  • Audits. Carriers should know how to run reports and retrieve data in the event of an audit.