Clarifying the ELD Mandate Grandfather Clause

By Jamie Mielke, Product Manager, Safety & Compliance, PeopleNet

Since the day the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), our technology experts at PeopleNet have been studying the legislation carefully to ensure that any product our company supplies will be fully in compliance with the mandate AND that we can provide accurate counsel to our customers. To that end, we, along with other industry leaders, have been working with the FMCSA for clarity around a number of requirements, including the ELD Grandfather Clause that has been a source of confusion for many. On February 15, 2017, FMCSA provided guidance.

ISSUE #1: The length of time that previously installed Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) can continue to be used legally by fleets as a device to record hours of service (HOS) – the core of the ELD Mandate.

According to ELD Mandate Clause § 395.8, if your fleet currently uses AOBRDs to record HOS, you can continue to use them and be compliant with the ELD Mandate until December 16, 2019, at which time you must begin using an ELD to record HOS.

Even with this February 15 FMSCA clarification, there are some stipulations that are important to know:

  • Stipulation #1: If your fleet is using AOBRDs and you’d like to move that device to a new commercial motor vehicle before the December 16, 2019 deadline, the good news is that is allowed…as long as that new vehicle is replacing a vehicle. However, you may not purchase and install a new AOBRD in any vehicle after December 18, 2017, it must be an ELD.
  • Stipulation #2: If you purchase a new vehicle before December 16, 2019 and it is an addition to the fleet count, then you must equip it with an ELD. You cannot purchase and install an AOBRD to a fleet addition after the ELD Mandate deadline of December 18, 2017.

A bit of caution as you think about these two scenarios, it should also be noted that having part of a fleet with AOBRDs and the other part with ELDs could bring the need to have two back office solutions to support the different technologies. An impossible situation? By no means, not impossible. However, it does make things more complicated for staff as they’ll support two platforms and be trained on both.

ISSUE #2: The amount of time allowed to replace a non-compliant ELD.

(§ 395.8) If, as a motor carrier, you are found to be non-compliant with the ELD Mandate, you will have eight days from notification to replace that device with a compliant one. This is the same time ceiling if your fleet’s ELDs need repairs, replacements or servicing.

  • Provision: If there is a large scale, fleet-wide issue with your devices, the FMCSA will work with you to establish a reasonable timeframe for replacing all non-compliant devices with ELDs that meet the requirements.

ISSUE #3: How to select an ELD.

(§ 395.8) The clause states that fleets should only purchase an ELD that is self-certified by the manufacturer to be compliant and that is registered and listed on the FMCSA website.

The issue of self-certification is a difficult one. And truth be told, as of yet, PeopleNet has not self-certified its products.  But it is important to note that PeopleNet has always complied with regulation updates and changes, and the ELD mandate is no different. We want to ensure that all our questions are answered and that we are delivering a compliant ELD solution to the market. And as pointed out in this post, there are a lot of new vendors who have come to the market, claiming to offer ELD Mandate-compliant technology. My recommendation is to use the ELD checklist to help you determine the proper course when making your technology decisions, because ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that your ELD is compliant. Additionally, I encourage you to consider the history of your technology partner. Are they new to the industry or do they have a history of technology leadership? Does your technology serve a singular need or does it support other areas of your business, offering a greater return on investment?

  • Resource: My colleague, Eric Witty, vice president, product for PeopleNet, is quoted in this recent Truck News article regarding the confusing, and somewhat controversial, topic of ELD self-certification. It’s worth a read as you do your research around potential ELD technology partners.

As we’ve said, the time is now for fleets to start preparing for compliance with the ELD Mandate. Visit our ELD Resource Page to learn more about the mandate and to contact our team to answer any additional questions you may have.

About the Author

Jamie Mielke is Product Manager, Safety & Compliance for PeopleNet, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based company that provides solutions to help fleets improve safety and compliance and reduce costs. PeopleNet’s network communications, mobility and analytics products are used by more than 2,000 truckload, LTL, private, and energy services fleets throughout North America.

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