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Fleet Owner | Challenges Ahead for ELD ‘Foot Draggers,’ Panel Concludes

09.21.17 | Kevin Jones, Fleet Owner

Fleets that haven’t already made the transition to ELDs could have some unpleasant surprises in store, panelists at the 2017 FTR Transportation Conference explained here Tuesday. Issues include lost productivity, driver turnover, customer expectations, the availability of ELD units, and even whether or not the units will perform as advertised - and as required by the regulations.

With legal challenges and legislative attempts at a rollback having run their course, the “wait-and-see” uncertainty about the Dec. 18 implementation date is finally past, explained carrier safety consultant and former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Annette Sandberg. But those who have held out are going to have to scramble to become ELD compliant - and that includes “quite a few” large fleets who rely on owner-operators, she added.

“We’re going to start to see a lot of activity in this area. I’m getting a lot of questions from carriers about how to implement quickly, what vendors to pick,” Sandberg said. “But my biggest concern, as a former regulator, is the number of ELD vendors that are currently on the FMCSA ELD list that probably shouldn’t be.”

Sandberg contends that the self-certification process has allowed non-compliant devices into the marketplace - and fleets might not be aware of the problems. She told of being called in to help a 3,000 truck carrier that was concerned “something wasn’t quite right” with the ELDs it had installed.

“It was apparent at the end of the first day that this device should never have been self-certified,” she said. “It wasn’t even minimally compliant with the automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) regulation that’s been in effect for 20 years.”

Sandberg also noted some uncertainty in the market as to whether a sufficient number of devices will be available to meet the demand over the coming weeks.

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