Enforcement of rules around Electronic Logging Devices has been getting much attention lately. While Canada begins ramping up enforcement of their new ELD rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is beginning to hold US motor carriers more accountable for ELD devices that cannot or will not transfer RODS at roadside by adding the 395.24(d) violation to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and attaching a severity weight of three.
This change has motor carriers wondering why they stand to be punished for a device that may be defective or if the problem relates to glitches in enforcement software. The answer, we think, is several-fold:
- It may surprise our readers to learn that this violation was written 22,830 times in 2022. So, it’s not a new decision for enforcement to start writing this violation and for FMCSA to gather data on where, when, and which devices are failing.
- One wonders why this violation is the 58th most common (out of more than 1,000 different violations written annually). Did the device really fail 22,000 times, or is enforcement frustrated at how often the driver hasn’t been properly trained on how to transfer data at roadside. It’s likely a combination of the two and penalizing carriers may incent them to retrain rusty drivers. In doing so, motor carriers should also train the drivers on what to do when a transfer fails. If a driver cannot produce a log, whether it’s on the display or sent electronically, they’ll be placed out-of-service, compounding the penalty.
- Perhaps the most compelling reason is that, while FMCSA is working hard to provide strong oversight of ELD vendors, it sometimes lacks leverage to compel change quickly. By holding motor carriers accountable in a way that will obviously get their attention, the hope may be that carriers begin pressuring their vendors to fix malfunctioning devices in a timely manner to avoid CSA penalties.
Regardless of the reason, carriers began seeing this violation in their December CSA snapshot. It shouldn’t be long before they start doubling down on driver training and having tough conversations with their ELD vendors.