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FTR: Full Impact of US ELD Rule Still Cloudy

It’s still relatively difficult to gauge the full impact of the electronic logging device mandate in the U.S. because of temporary exemptions and a phased-in enforcement period, according to FTR analysts, who added the true effect might not be realized until rates soften somewhat.

In the forecasting firm’s monthly State of Freight webinar, Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research, noted the many exemption applications that are still pending, from agriculture retailers to power and communication contractors, is keeping a lid on the full impact to the industry – as is the phased-in, soft enforcement period for compliance.

Heavy Duty Trucking reports:

While some 17 states reportedly have decided to not do any enforcement until April 1, another dozen are leaving it up to the individual officer, leaving 19 that are currently writing ELD tickets.

FMCSA asked states to use a specific violation code, 39522A, between Dec. 18 and April 1 to indicate ELD violations, which would not affect CSA scores, but would allow FMCSA to gather data on ELD use. Vise says in looking at publicly available data, that code is not appearing. Whether that means officers aren’t using it, whether FMCSA is not making that information public, or whether there’s an IT problem, he didn’t know.

With enforcement across the U.S. uneven and spotty, it’s difficult to get a solid picture of ELD compliance at this point in time, says Vise. In addition, some operators, knowing that enforcement may be scarce and won’t be put out of service yet, are waiting until the very last minute to comply.

This is not what the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and FMCSA had in mind when they announced the phased-in enforcement, CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney recently told Today’s Trucking.

“We are disappointed that our implementation process — our delay in implementing out-of-service conditions until April 1 — has been taken by many in the industry as the new implementation date. That wasn’t the intent,” said Mooney. “I’m disappointed in the handful of people electing to install their ELDs so they meet the regulatory definition, but then still using paper. It’s not meeting the regulatory intent.”

Vise noted, the current high spot market rates could mitigate the impact of ELD productivity losses for small carriers.

“Until spot market rates drop below $1.75 a mile, (some owner-operators) would be better off financially than a year ago, even being forced to abide by hours of service rules under mandatory ELDs.”

Meanwhile, also clouding the picture somewhat is the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s petition to exempt “small business” trucking operations of less than $27.5 million in annual revenue, which would be in fact the majority, some 95% or more, of trucking companies, Vise said, adding, however,  it’s highly unlikely the petition succeeds.

Read full story here.

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