ATLANTA — A delay in the upcoming mandate on electronic logging devices for carriers is highly unlikely to occur, federal regulators and stakeholders said at the Connected Fleets USA conference Sept. 26.
Jon Dierberger, field administrator at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, assured listeners that the agency is prepared to carry out the long-awaited mandate that continues to rattle parts of the industry.
He stressed close attention will be paid to the self-certification, self-validation process with the ELD rule, which officials will monitor when the mandate is effective on Dec. 18. Under the rule, manufacturers must guarantee ELD output files conform to the required technical specifications.
“The real validation is going to be when we go out into the world and look at these systems and then compare them against real world data, and if we identify problems, we’ll work with those vendors and those motor carriers about addressing those. But right now it is a performance-based, self-certification process,” Dierberger said.
Ultimately, improvements in safety across freight corridors is expected to improve with the ELDs. The devices are replacing paper logs to track work time hours-of-service, with the goal of addressing driver fatigue. Significant sectors within the industry already comply with the rule, while smaller carriers and owner-operators continue to raise financial concerns.
“This ELD rule is, I think, going to be as big or bigger, in terms of the complete [sic], the total impact to industry and safety,” Dierberger added.
Stakeholders closely tracking the mandate are unconvinced a delay will occur. Recently, a bloc of members from the U.S. House of Representatives was unsuccessful in delaying the mandate for a year.
“The only way that this possibly could happen is through a legislative process and with the amount of time left in the next 90 days, and having everybody agree, I think it would be very difficult,” said Tom Cuthbertson, vice president of regulatory compliance at Omnitracs.
“The key to compliance: Act now,” added Fred Fakkema, vice president of compliance at Zonar Systems, Inc.