Citations for failing to use mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs) or grandfathered devices meeting current electronic log standards may begin in December, but failure to use them won’t become an out-of-service (OOS) offense until April 1, 2018, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced. In an August 25 letter to FMCSA, CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney said that he wanted “to assure you that, despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirement on Dec. 18, 2017. On that date, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD.”
However, to ease the transition, CVSA decided not to begin applying the OOS criteria associated with the ELD mandate until April 1, Mooney said. “Setting a new April 1, 2018 effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods. However, on April 1, 2018, non-compliant drivers will be placed out of service.”
Under the phased schedule, carriers still could face significant consequences for non-compliance by December 18 as they could incur violations in the Hours of Service Compliance BASIC. Moreover, these violations could be particularly damaging as it appears – based on the phrase “at the jurisdiction’s discretion” – that some states’ enforcement between December 18 and April 1 could be significantly stricter than others.
In a related action, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a petition with FMCSA that argues that 26 states have not yet incorporated an ELD regulation into state law and, therefore, are not authorized to enforce the rule until they do. The petition asks FMCSA to declare that the states are in non-compliance with their obligations under Part 350, which governs grants to states under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). FMCSA is unlikely to act on the petition soon, and even if it does, the agency appears to have discretion not to withhold funds to states.