- The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) on Monday announced it would phase in its enforcement of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which enters into force Dec. 18, 2017.
- The alliance of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal commercial motor vehicle safety officials said they will not enforce the mandate's out-of-service criteria until April 1, 2018, in order to provide the industry time to adjust to new rules.
- However, the announcement does not delay the rule's enforcement altogether. The CVSA said officials will issue citations for lack of equipment beginning in December and continue to mark vehicles out of service for other hours-of-service violations.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's decision to delay marking non-compliant vehicles out of service until 2018 quells fears of a trucking industry capacity crunch.
Rumors of a capacity crunch and a sudden spike in freight rates has circulated around the coming ELD mandate for months. Talk of as much as a 20% increase in costs as well as a wholesale abandonment of the business by independent drivers uninterested in following the mandate has created uncertainty about the results of enforcement once it begins in December. Fearing for a shortage of drivers to handle this year's seasonal peak, fleet managers are hiring early and offering better work-life balance terms.
Yet, while no one really knows what the real outcome will be, many of these fears were based on the assumption regulatory enforcement would hit the industry in a sudden manner. Hearing these concerns, the CVSA chose a more tempered approach to enforcement to "help motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement," according to a letter sent to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration justifying the CVSA's decision.
"Setting a new April 1, 2018 effective date for applying the ELD OOSC will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods," the Alliance wrote. "CVSA member jurisdictions have used this phased in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in regulatory requirements."
The decision should help avoid a sudden capacity crunch, both in December and in April. Yet, side effects of the new rule — such as an exodus of truckers — continue to be a threat. A recent FleetOwner report reveals 11% of truckers remain non-compliant due to the cost burden of adopting ELDs, and just 53% of survey respondents are fully ready for the rule.
However, metadata collected by Truckstop.com and analyzed by FTR in their weekly Trans4Cast suggests shows more trucking companies are entering the market than leaving. Last week, the industry saw more than 1,300 new entrants. Could the scare be overblown?