November 21, 2017 3:15 PM, EST

ELD Update: FMCSA Softens Violators' Safety Profile Impact

Agency Also Grants Ag Haulers 90-Day Waiver
FMCSA's Cathy Gautreaux

To ease the trucking industry’s transition to the federal electronic logging device mandate, citations issued between Dec. 18 and April 1 for failure to comply with the new law will not be posted to motor carriers’ safety profiles. But carriers still could be fined, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials said Nov. 20.

The agency also announced that there will be a 90-day temporary waiver of the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities, formal guidance specifically pertaining to the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agricultural industry, and guidance on the “personal conveyance” provision of the mandate.

“FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups, including agriculture, and will continue to take steps to ease the transition to the full implementation of the ELD rule,” said Cathy Gautreaux, the agency’s deputy administrator.

FMCSA said it also will provide guidance on the existing 150-air-miles hours-of-service exemption in order to provide clarity to enforcement and industry. The guidance is designed to allow carriers to maximize the use of this statutory exemption.

Formal guidance is expected to be posted in the Federal Register within the next two weeks, and will include a public comment process.

In August, commercial vehicle inspectors said they may issue citations to motor carriers operating vehicles without electronic logging devices beginning Dec. 18, but will not place vehicles out of service until April 1.

“The phase-in is intended to encourage compliance, but not be unreasonable,” said Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. “But make no mistake about it, enforcement is going to happen.”

Mooney said some aspects of phased-in enforcement may vary by law-enforcement jurisdiction. Some states may issue citations, while others may fine carriers without ELDs. But all jurisdictions will document a violator’s inspection report, noting the failure to have an ELD in the truck, and follow up on future stops or roadside inspections to see if violators have complied after the April 1 deadline, Mooney said.

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