- If H.B. 545 is passed into law, Florida intrastate carriers will have until December 31, 2018 to employ ELDs, Overdrive reported Monday. Interstate enforcement will be mandatory by December 31, 2017.
- Many smaller states have adopted the national rule as is, while those with less restrictive hours of service (HOS), such as Alaska and California, have yet to determine a timeline. Federal regulations allow for up to three years to adopt a statewide rule.
- Florida’s decision resembles that of Texas, which opted for a December, 2019 ELD intrastate deadline. The two states share greater HOS limits than the interstates, with 12 hours of allowable daily service, longer on-duty windows and higher weekly total limits.
The ongoing debate over the value and necessity of ELDs is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, as individual states begin the battle of assigning usage compliance dates depending on frequency of intra- or interstate routes. States with more lax regulations appear to be delaying implementation for various years, perhaps hoping challenges to the rule will succeed, or looking to avoid additional implementation costs for their domestic trucking industry.
The ELD rule, which was signed into law in December 2015, has endured several legal challenges already. The latest in the saga was filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, although it seems unlikely to succeed given previous rulings. Yet, with an anti-regulatory administration, anything could happen so some are holding out hope the rule will not see the light of day by December 2017.
Nonetheless, most companies are preparing to burden the costs of implementation, which go beyond software to better routing and scheduling. A recent letter by a trucker reveals the devices challenge a drivers' ability to stop safely at scarce parking lots, for example, and could make drivers more inefficient. Shippers, in turn, fear a capacity crunch will follow suit in 2018.
States like Texas, Alaska, California and Florida have a large presence of intrastate carriers given their size, and delaying the rule's implementation seems beneficial for various reasons. If a capacity crunch indeed hits the interstate carrier market, intrastate carriers can pick up the slack. If regulation changes, no commitment was forced on the domestic market, either. At worst, the market continues as usual for a few more years while, hopefully, software costs fall and the interstate drivers reveal further issues with the rule, and how to fix them.