Let the electronic logging device (ELD) transition hiccups begin.
The long-awaited deadline for virtually all trucks to be equipped with digital vehicle-monitoring devices came and went Monday with the world still rotating on its axis. However, it didn't go flawlessly, as some drivers reported problems with their devices.
According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), a group representing driver owner-operators which is bitterly opposed to the rule, a Facebook group known as "ELDorMe's" Facebook page had a thread of posts with drivers reporting problems with their devices.
Doug Morris, OOIDA's director of safety and security operations, said on the website of "Landline," the group's official publication, that drivers experiencing technical difficulties should continue to use traditional paper logs to record their hours of service. "The rule does require drivers to have paper logs available just for this reason," Morris advised drivers. "So just make sure you have paper logs available because we know there will be problems."
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration previously announced that drivers running without an ELD won't be ordered out-of-service or receive a violation until April 1, 2018. However, last week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said that drivers who did not have the devices installed by Monday may still face fines and citations at the state level.
Late last week, the site reported that some drivers haven't received their ELD devices even though they've already paid for them. According to the site, two vendors have told customers that the devices may not ship until month's end due to high demand. While many drivers have their ELD functions built into their smartphones, others have ordered devices designed to be installed in cabs. The latter equipment would be the ones subject to any manufacturer delays.
Thousands of drivers are believed to have waited until the 11th hour to obtain ELDs. John Seidl, a consultant and former Wisconsin highway patrol inspector as well as a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) inspector, said Monday during a webinar sponsored by the investment firm Stifel that about 20 percent of drivers nationwide were noncompliant as the rule went into effect.
FMCSA has said that drivers not in compliance will not have their vehicles put out of service or have points assessed on their Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scorecard, which measures a driver's safety history. That grace period ends April 1.
An order confirmation or receipt that an ELD has been purchased but not received may still not prevent drivers from being fined.