There’s a new federal rule out there that’s making waves in the commercial trucking industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, first proposed the rule in 2014. Even then, it was met with controversy. The law requires that anyone driving a commercial truck must use an electronic logging device, or an ELD. These devices monitor the hours that drivers spend on the road, and require that they take rest breaks while driving. Here is the need-to know ELD Law info you should equip yourself with.
The rule was implemented in order to create safety on the road. Driver fatigue is involved in nearly ten percent of accidents on the road. Truckers are a group that’s highly susceptible to drowsy driving.
Truck drivers, on the other hand, are not happy. Over three-quarters of drivers questioned in a poll actually said that they would consider leaving the trucking industry all-together. And half of the owner-operators of the companies that are employing those drivers said that they would also quit the industry. There’s already a shortage of truck drivers out there – with this many workers threatening to leave the industry, we could see a huge decline in shipments transported by truck.
Right now, about three million truck drivers are still out there using paper to log their hours. Within two years, they have to install the ELDs in their trucks. Some companies already use electronic recording devices to log their hours. They have four years to make the switch to ELDs that are listed by the FMCSA.
The ELD mandate is attempting to make trucker’s jobs easier, even though there is pushback. Any trucker that has to work more than 70 hours per week can be fined as much as $16,000. Before, in 2013, truckers could be on the road for a total of 82 hours in a week. They are also made to have 34 hours off duty before they’re allowed to work again. Drivers are equipped with harassment complaints for certain instances. The complaints can include a variety of things, all revolving around the driver’s well being. Exceeding the amount of hours they’re required to drive is the main issue. Others are being made to drive while tired, or being made to drive while they’re ill.
Getting Their Privacy
The ELD also stipulates that only those in charge of regulating the ELDs and law enforcement will be able to have access to the data logged by the ELD. They will be able to view the information during investigations of accidents, during a compliance review, or during a roadside inspection.
The ELDs don’t come without a cost. The fleet manager or truck owner has to buy the initial ELD, which all have varying price ranges. But once the ELD is installed, they pay anywhere from $20 to $30 to maintain the ELD service plans. That means the average cost of the device per truck is about $495 per year.
In addition to monitoring the hours that the drivers work, ELDs can track the location of trucks and routes. They also monitor tire pressure and consumption of fuel. The ELD stores information on vehicle inspections, and allows those managing the fleets to monitor the driving habits of their workers.
With the new laws in place, it’s more important than ever to get your equipment loan financing from a company that you can trust. TopMark Funding can set your mind at ease when you’re getting equipment financing on new trucks or used trucks. We know the ins and outs of the industry, and can help you navigate your business and what the new laws mean for you.