What is the True Cost of ELD Mandate Penalties on Truckers?

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We are about two years into the Electronic Logging Device mandate. Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is cracking down on any violations by handing out ELD mandate penalties. The mandate has cracked down on making sure that all drivers have an ELD in their rig. The device allows the driver, the carrier, and the government to better track their driving hours and performance. However, with the mandate surfaced many frustrations for truckers when it comes to the tightly-regulated industry that once represented their road to freedom. Here’s an update on what’s happening with ELD mandate penalties as well as some other potential changes coming down the pike.

ELD mandate penalties

What happens when you receive ELD mandate penalties?

First of all, if you aren’t ELD compliant, the government can force you out-of-service and not allow you to be dispatched again until you are compliant. This is why, although the ELD is an investment, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later. The consequences can be costly. With that said, the ELD mandate penalties can now affect your Compliance, Safety, Accountability, or CSA score.

The FMCSA keeps your CSA Score and uses it to identify any high-risk carriers or drivers they may need to intervene with. The score is based on your driving performance data, including all safety-based roadside inspection violations and state-reported crashes.

How much do the ELD mandate penalties cost?

ELD mandate penalties can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. The average recorded fine is $2,867 and the highest recorded fine was $13,680 as of 2018, which is the most recent information available. These costs and the other consequences of not complying with the mandate have many truck drivers frustrated. Truckers long for the days when they drove – pulled over when they felt it was time to rest – had more control over how quickly and when they dropped off their cargo and took breaks when they wanted to. Now, all of this is regulated, and the ELD prevents them from stretching the truth at all. Surprisingly, the industry has been pretty quiet on the ELD front as of late. It seems drivers and companies alike are buckling down and accepting their fate.

Will regulations on truckers ease any time soon?

The ELD mandate, as well as additional heavy regulations, are driving some out of the industry. This is why recently the government started making moves to ease some regulations on drivers – most specifically, their required hours of service. Here’s a high-level overview of changes that could be coming for truckers:

  1. 30-minute break

The first change FMCSA is promising is regarding the current 30-minute break requirement. Basically, you can count your on-duty/not driving status as your break time instead of having to switch to off duty to take your break. Tasks, like grabbing a cup of coffee, stopping to use the restroom, or getting gas, could count toward your break instead of your on-duty hours.

  1. Pausing the off-duty clock

This essentially means instead of having to drive through rush hour to get as much of your driving into the 14-hour window like it is now, you could stop for up to three hours mid-shift, as long as you take at least 10 hours off duty at the end of your shift.

  1. Adverse driving conditions

If you’re facing bad weather, you can add two additional hours to your allowed driving time… so, you could take 16 hours instead of 14 hours, so that you can travel through that weather safely and not get penalized.

To hear about all five of the proposed changes, tune into Big Rig Banter for a more in-depth conversation!

How do you feel about trucking regulations and ELD mandate penalties? Comment below!


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