Written By: Kelly Frederick, Transport Pro Marketing Manager
Not only do you need to recognize and implement the requirements for the ELD mandate, you also need to know when to do it in order to comply. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Alliance Administration (FMCSA) there are three phases for the ELD mandate implementation: Awareness and Transition, Phased-In Compliance, and Full Compliance. The ELD mandate is being implemented to replace paper logs and better record drivers’ hours of service (HOS). For more information on the specifications of the mandate, please see our previous article: The ELD Mandate: Are You Ready?
Phase 1, Awareness and Transition, is the two-year period that follows the publication of the ELD rule, which is February 16, 2016 to December 18, 2017. During this period drivers and carriers can use ELDs voluntarily. If drivers choose to use an ELD device during this time, they can use paper logs, logging software, automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDS), and ELDs that are FMCSA compliant to record their records duty of status (RODS). Although using an ELD in phase 1 is voluntary, it serves to prepare drivers and carriers for the mandate.
Phase 2, Phased-In Compliance, is the two-year period from phase two to phase three, which is from December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019. Throughout this period carriers and drivers who are required to implement an ELD can use AOBRDS that were installed before December 2017 or ELDs that were certified and registered after the publication of the rule, which was December 16, 2015. Drivers can use these devices up until the last phase of implementation.
Phase 3, Full Compliance, takes effect after December 16, 2019. At this point, all carriers and drivers subject to the rule are required to use certified, registered ELDs. As long as the device meets FMCSA specifications, the device is considered acceptable. Drivers and carriers will need to ensure that everyone is trained properly on how to use the device in enough time to use it smoothly by the time the mandate takes effect.
Although ELD compliance is currently voluntary, the FMCSA strongly encourages drivers and carriers to prepare for the next phase. However, legal and logistical challenges aren’t going unnoticed. For example, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has claimed that the FMCSA has failed to prove the cost-benefit ratio of the ELD regulation, according to a recent article by Interstate Motor Carriers. There will likely continue to be issues throughout the transitional periods. But, the sooner drivers and carriers implement compliance, the easier the transitional phases will be.