On 4/1/18, the grace period ended for compliance with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. Drivers caught without ELDs are now subject to being placed out of service for 10 hours, receiving a civil fine, and having points added to their Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program scores. If drivers are placed out of service in the middle of haul, they may use paper records to get to their final destination but cannot be re-dispatched until an ELD is installed. Whether drivers face a citation and fine will be in the discretion of the inspecting officer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) expects the new ELD mandate will decrease the 43,000 violations for false reports of duty status; 32,000 violations for no record of duty status; and nearly 54,000 violations of paper logs not being current that were found in 2017.

The FMCSA has designated CSA scores corresponding to the severity of ELD violations. The scores range from 1 point for violations such as failure to manually add the trailer number to 7 points for failing to provide hours of service (HOS) supporting documents. Failure to have a record of duty status results in a 5-point violation.

On 3/20/2018, the FMCSA issued revised guidelines for all carriers using automatic onboard recording device software (AOBRDs). The revision comes in response to a request from Old Dominion Freight Lines, which had previously received a 90-day ELD waiver due to issues integrating PeopleNet’s ELD system upgrades.

For those carriers using AOBRDs before the ELD mandate’s effective date on 12/18/2017, the AOBRD systems can still be transferred to replacement trucks but now any new trucks expanding the carrier’s fleet may be equipped with AOBRD software until December 16, 2019. At the end of this period, all vehicles must have been transitioned to ELDs. Prior to this revised guidance, any truck expanding a carrier’s fleet was required to have an ELD installed by 4/1/2018.

AOBRDs are governed by the 1988 regulatory definitions under 49 CFR § 395.2 and represent a now-outmoded technology for recording duty status. At a minimum, AOBRD software must record engine hours, road speed, locations, miles driven, and date and time. ELDs must be synchronized with an engine’s electronic control module (ECM) and must capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, total miles driven, total engine hours, engine power status, vehicle speed, and vehicle location as well as record of duty status (RODS) data. ELD data must also be readily available to Department of Transportation (DOT) inspectors.

On 3/23/2018, Congressman Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced the Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers (REST) Act (HR 5417) that would require changes to the HOS rules. Specifically, the REST Act allows one rest break per shift for up to three consecutive hours of off-duty time. This period would not be included in the driver’s 14-hour on-duty period limitation and would not affect the required 10-hours of consecutive off-duty time. Currently, drivers coming off 10 consecutive hours off duty have 11 hours of drive time of which only 8 hours may be consecutive before a 30-minute break must be taken. Drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour before taking another 10 consecutive hours off duty. The effect of the REST Act would be to extend the driver’s allowable work day from 14 to 17 hours and would eliminate the 30-minute break rule. The bill has been referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

On 3/13/2018, the FMCSA announced that the ELD waiver for livestock haulers will be extended to 6/18/2018. The previous waiver was set to expire on 3/18/18. The waiver does not affect hours of service (HOS) regulations, which still apply to these commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.

On 2/7/2018, the FMCSA published a clarification on requests for data reviews (RDRs) for certain non-preventable accidents. The crash preventability demonstration program began accepting RDRs on 8/1/2017 for accidents occurring on or after 6/1/2017. Since that time, 2,500 RDRs have been received by the FMCSA. Due to common mistakes in carriers submitting RDRs, the FMCSA issued the 2/7/18 clarification. Accidents eligible for review are those in which a CMV is struck by a motorist driving under the influence, struck by a wrong way motorist, struck in the rear, struck while legally stopped or parked, is involved in suicide by CMV, and in which property damage occurs from an animal strike.

Photo of attorney Allen Smith

Allen Smith
Charlotte
704.319.5449
asmith@hedrickgardner.com

Photo of attorney Austin Walsh

Austin Walsh
Charlotte
704.602.8010
awalsh@hedrickgardner.com

The information published in Hedrick Gardner Alerts is general in nature and not intended to take the place of legal advice on any particular matter. © 2018 Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP