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Panel: ELD ‘Foot Draggers’ Will Be Challenged

A panel at 2017 FTR Transportation Conference concludes trouble is ahead for late adopters of electronic logging devices (ELDs).

With legal challenges and legislative attempts at a rollback having run their course, the “wait-and-see” uncertainty about the Dec. 18 implementation date is finally past, explained carrier safety consultant and former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator, Annette Sandberg.

But those who have held out, Fleet owner reports Sandberg as saying, will have to scramble to become ELD compliant—and that includes “quite a few” large fleets who rely on owner-operators.

“We’re going to start to see a lot of activity in this area. I’m getting a lot of questions from carriers about how to implement quickly, what vendors to pick,” Sandberg said.

She is also concerned the self-certification process for ELD venders has allowed some non-compliant devices into the marketplace.

Sandberg also noted that some uncertainty in the market as to whether a sufficient number of devices will be available to meet the demand over the coming weeks.

Still, worries that the implementation of the mandate will immediately cause service disruptions in the supply chain are unfounded, she explained. For starters, enforcement of the regulation will be phased in, as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently announced, and non-compliant trucks will not be placed out of service until April 2018, giving carriers additional time for the transition.

In addition to the regulatory requirement, shippers and brokers are increasingly demanding ELD compliance from their carriers. Panelist Ron Guzzi, senior manager of carrier relations for Home Depot, said the company’s asset-based fleets are compliant “in 97- 98% range.”

“We consider ourselves to be an asset-based shipper, so we do very little with brokerage. This is part of the reason. We don’t feel there’s a direct impact to us, because we deal with the right carriers,” Guzzi said. “We’re also wise enough to know that when the industry is forced to have ELDs, it’s going to have an impact on utilization and lead to increased rates over the next six months. But our carriers are already there and I think we’re already paying for their adjusted utilization from when they made the changes.”

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