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New ELD Regulations? FMCSA Considering Changes for 2022
Foley
3 mins read

Back in February 2016, the ELD rule went into effect (rolled out in stages over the course of several years). The goal behind it was simple enough: To improve drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) rules and to decrease driver coercion and harassment.

New Webinar: The Rise of Surprise Safety Events

Regarding HOS, the FMCSA reports that “hours-of-service violations have fallen sharply since the ELD rollout. These critical regulations ensure that CMV drivers get the breaks they need, increasing the safety of everyone on the road.” The FMCSA estimates that over 1800 crashes are avoided annually thanks to ELDs.

As for decreasing driver coercion and harassment, according to some, the mandate created new problems. A survey in 2019 by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation noted that drivers reported “feeling rushed to take breaks when they do not need them and forced to drive when they would rather take a break since the implementation of the Final Rule.”

The survey also showed that “others felt harassed by the device itself, stating that they are unable to make even the smallest of mistakes.” It’s worth noting, however, that some members reported feeling less harassment, as the ELD regulation had intended.

Such feedback has not fallen on deaf ears.

In fact, the FMCSA, which is currently considering updates to the ELD rule, states in its pre-rule verbiage: “Many lessons have been learned by FMCSA staff, State enforcement personnel, ELD vendors, and industry in the intervening years. These lessons can be used to streamline and improve the clarity of the regulatory text and ELD specifications and answer recurring questions. Additionally, there are technical modifications responsive to concerns raised by affected parties that could improve the usability of ELDs. FMCSA is seeking information to determine what changes would be warranted.”

It will be interesting to see what changes the FMCSA makes to the language—and to the technology requirements. As we reported a couple of years ago, drivers who were using automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) to track their HOS had to transition to ELDs by the end of 2019.

New Webinar: The Rise of Surprise Safety Events

One thing we can say for certain about the ELD technology is this: Drivers should keep in mind that mobile carriers—like AT&T, Verizon, and the like—are sunsetting their 3G networks in 2022, which could affect older ELDs and their ability to function.

The FMCSA offers this advice: “If your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset, and complete the necessary actions as soon as possible.”

Need help sorting it all out or have questions about other potential changes on the horizon in 2022? Reach out anytime – our compliance team is here to help. 

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