eldbluetree Photo: Blue Tree Systems
The ELD mandate is expected to reduce TL capacity 4% to 8% according to one estimate.

CarrierLists: ELD adoption hitting a ‘plateau’

The company’s ELD compliance survey indicates installation rates flattened over last three weeks.

A weekly survey conducted by CarrierLists to gauge compliance with the impending electronic logging device (ELD) mandate finds that installation rates are “plateauing” for them, with many fleets indicating that they will not “flip the switch” from paper logbooks to ELDs until the “last possible moment,” according to Kevin Hill, the company’s president and founder.

“Eleven weeks into [our] ELD Compliance Survey and it looks like we've hit a second plateau in compliance rates,” he said in a statement. “The past three weeks of interviews show ELD install rates have held steady at 67%, 70%, and 69%, respectively.” 

For those fleets who have recently installed ELDs before the deadline, “more and more are telling us they are still using paper logs,” Hill added, and don’t plan to “go electronic” until the last possible moment.

“What does this mean for productivity post-December 18th [when the mandate takes effect]?” he asked. “Will the hit be even greater than what current compliance rates indicate? 

​John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets, noted in a recent research brief that enforcement of the ELD rule will be “soft” initially, according to guidance issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it will only be “soft” for three and a half months.

“The FMCSA came out with a directive which suggests that CSA [Compliance, Safety, Accountability] points will not be generated for any citations written [between] the December 18, 2017 and April 1, 2018 transition period,” he said.

“Citations, apparently, can still be issued and fines can still be levied for violations. It is just that CSA points will not be initially be assessed due to non-compliance with the ELD mandate,” Larkin noted.

Yet he believes by May of 2018 the ELD rule should be “fully in place and fully enforced” and expects it is likely to cause a 4% to 8% contraction in truckload capacity.

“Barring a recession in 2018, an ELD-driven capacity reduction is likely to touch off an even more severe capacity crisis,” Larkin added.

In terms of the “nuts and bolts” of ELD enforcement, CarrierLists interviewed the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) for some insights:​

  • OHP said that official eight-hour training sessions for all of its inspectors are scheduled for the second week of December. ​
  • As of now the plan is to use 10-hour out of service (OOS) penalties for trucks without ELDs instead of monetary fines, though this could change after training and guidance classes.
  • ​All fleets using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDS) as substitutes for ELDs must self-register them with the FMCSA before December 18th. If it hasn’t been self-registered, then the AOBRD will be treated as if it does not exist.
  • ​The recent 90-day agricultural extension covers trucks only when they are transporting approved items on the list. So ELDs will still be required to be in use with any backhauls of commodities not covered in the exemption.
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