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The ELD Mandate & What it Means

Here it comes: the Electronic Logging Device Mandate is in position, and it’s getting ready to strike.

The process all began in 2012, when US Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill (or MAP-21 for short). The bill asked that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) add a rule to implement mandatory electronic logging devices (or ELDs) – which they eventually did, in December 2015. Now, fleets have until December 2017 to initiate these changes, or face the consequences.

An ELD replaces the traditional paper logbook drivers may use to record their Hours of Service. It’s essentially just an electronic device, hardwired to the truck’s engine, that logs hours automatically – although the possibilities extend beyond that. Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports, map integration… It seems to be the next step forward in commercial truck driving.

So what’s the harm? Well, for small businesses, the changeover could be costly. The annual total cost for ELD adoption is estimated by the FMCSA to be $975 million, including equipment and training for both drivers and inspectors. The most popular ELD on the market will run about $495/truck, which has some lagging, hoping for an extension on the now looming deadline.

As for the affect on North American trade, that remains to be seen. An estimated $662 billion worth of goods and services is traded annually between Canada and the US, and the carriers of that cargo will have to navigate the changing regulations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) are finalizing their own ELD Mandate proposal, which may be released within the next year. While the Canadian mandate will contain some variations from its US counterpart, the general consensus seems to be: the future is electronic.