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January 20 2020

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34 The Journal of Commerce | Januar y 20 2020 Surface Transportation collapsed. Freight continues to flow, and shippers have not reported prob- lems on a scale similar to those seen in December 2017, when the ELD mandate forced stricter adherence to hours-of-service (HOS) regulations by truck drivers who had been skirt- ing the rules by falsifying paper logs, resulting in tighter truck capacity and longer transit times. There's disagreement over how many drivers and trucking firms are complying with the ELD mandate. Some sources believe most truckers are compliant, while others, includ- ing some ELD vendors, think there are still plenty of truckers using older AOBRD technology, or not using an electronic log at all. Those drivers will find it harder to avoid detection in 2020. For shippers, the chief — and most immediate — concern is whether their trucking partners are compliant; their shipments could be at risk if a driver still using an AOBRD is pulled over and put out of service. After that, shippers may find some drive time has slipped off the clock as truckers transition from AOBRDs to ELDs, which are more precise in recordkeeping. Improved compliance The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published its final rule promulgating the ELD man- date in December 2015 after being ordered to do so by Congress in the transportation spending bill known as the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). That action followed years of contentious legal wrangling over ELDs. The goal of the mandate, accord- ing to the language of MAP-21, was "to improve compliance by an operator of a vehicle with HOS regu- lations." There's plenty of additional verbiage in the act about the ELD and the mandate, as well as criteria for ELD performance and develop- ment of certification procedures, but improved HOS compliance was the key goal. In that regard, the ELD mandate is working. Truck driver HOS viola- tions for exceeding daily driving and on-duty limits dropped significantly in fiscal year (FY) 2019, which ended Sept. 30 and included the first full year of ELD enforcement. However, THE ELECTRONIC LOGGING era is in full swing, after the last deadline in the 2015 electronic logging device (ELD) mandate passed on Dec. 16, 2019. All commercial truck driv- ers are now required to use ELDs, except for those who aren't required to log their duty hours or obtained an exemption over the past two years — a fairly limited group of specialized drivers. Reading some headlines in the general media, you might think the ELD mandate was just launched on unsuspected truck drivers. In fact, truck drivers have been required to use electronic logs rather than paper ones to record their work and rest hours since Dec. 18, 2017, and the requirement has been fully enforced since April 1, 2018. What's changed is the end of the "grandfather period" for older electronic logging technology, the automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) some trucking companies have used for years. Motor carriers still using AOBRDs were required to replace them with ELDs by Dec. 17, and federal and state authorities said there would be no period of "soft" enforcement. After two years, however, what has the impact of the ELD mandate been? Has it lived up to expectations or fulfilled its purpose? How will it affect transportation in the future? Debate over each of those questions is often heated, but there's little question the ELD is changing the landscape in and outside the truck cab, perhaps in ways that aren't yet clearly seen. Some promises have been real- ized, but others remain unfulfilled. To date, civilization has not the number of violations issued for falsifying driver logs increased from 2018, indicating ELDs haven't entirely eliminated cheating. Under the HOS rules, truck drivers may drive up to 11 hours a day and work a total of 14 hours per day in a 60- or 70-hour period. They are required to take 10 consecutive hours of off-duty rest between daily on-duty shifts. The 11 hours of driving time includes a mandatory 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours on duty. The driving clock starts when the driver begins the day. Roadside inspection data shows the number of violations issued for driving beyond the 11-hour daily limit dropped 33.6 percent year over year in FY 2019, after falling 31.6 percent in FY 2018, the period Emerging effects ELDs increase adherence to HOS rules; safety impact less clear By William B. Cassidy Driver HOS violations have declined significantly during the ELD era, but truck- related accident and fatality rates continue to rise. Trucking | Rail | Intermodal | Air & Expedited | Distribution

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