ELD mandate bill hits house, may cause delays

 

ELD mandate bill hits house, may cause delays

Source: FleetAnswers The ELD Mandate deadline is looming, with December 2017 just around the corner, but a bill has been filed with the U.S. House that may cause a delay. For fleets that are scrambling to become complaint, this shift in focus is interesting. While it's too early to tell if the bill has enough backing to pass, it's worth looking at what it contains as the ELD deadline nears.

Where the Bill Stands

As of July 2017, a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives was working to pass a bill that would delay the compliance date of the federal electronic logging device mandate to December of 2019, providing two additional years for compliance. Specifically cited in the introduction of the bill was the challenges small carriers were facing when trying to embrace electronic logging devices in order to become compliant. Owner-operators were pointed to as one type of carrier that would struggle to be able to afford to make the switch.

The bill, entitled the ELD Extension Act of 2017, was filed by Texas Republican Representative Brian Babin. The filing of the bill came after a panel recommend a DOT study to see whether or not a delay of the mandate was needed. The filing of the bill and the recommendation of the study show that there is significant traction in Congress to pass something that will delay the deadline.

Of course, a bill being introduced does not mean that it is going to become law. Not only must the bill pass the House, but it must also pass the Senate and receive President Trump's signature in order to become law. The bill could also end up attached to another larger piece of legislation.

What the Bill Means

Whether or not this particular bill passes, it clearly shows that not all legislators are excited about the looming deadline. While ELD compliance carries a number of benefits, especially with helping to ensure hours-of-duty are followed and driers are safer on the road, it has significant financial challenges as well. Logging devices are costly, and those fleets that aren't using a complaint device already will need to invest in one. For some, that investment isn't something that can be done quickly, and many believe the December 2017 deadline is just not practical.

Why are representatives taking a closer look at this bill? According to a report attached to the bill, the mandate carries a heavy burden to small carriers. The projected cost of making the switch and implementing the regulations in the mandate is over $2 billion. If these estimates are correct, it is the most expensive of all transportation laws that Obama's administration put on the books.

Large carriers are less likely to struggle. Many already use ELD-compliant technology in their fleet management systems. It's the small carriers who will struggle, and the bill's proponents believe these are the carriers that won't see as much of a benefit from making the switch. In addition, implementing the devices have caused complications, like cyber vulnerabilities and connectivity problems, that need to be ironed out. December 2017 may not be enough time to iron out these problems.

Whether the switch happens in December 2017 or December 2019, change is coming. Fleets who are able should make the switch earlier than later in order to implement the new technology long before the deadline comes. Though it is costly, electronic logging makes a trucker's job easier while ensuring safety of the entire fleet, making these devices a logical choice for the savvy fleet manager.