With Supreme Court Ruling on the ELD Legal Challenge, Implementation of ELD’s Have No Roadblocks Remaining

It appears that if you were hoping that the ELD rule was going to be overturned or that President Trump was going to step in the stop the new ELD rule, all hope is lost. The new ELD rule is going to go ahead on December 18, 2017. Have you started to install Electronic Logging Devices yet? What are you waiting for?

Some background: The Supreme Court on Monday, June 12th delivered a death blow to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s legal challenge to the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate. With the high court’s rejection, the lawsuit will go no further.

Though there are efforts underway to engage Congress on the issue, the rejection mandate has support from Republicans and Democrats. Such bi-partisan support doesn’t bode well for any moves to strip the mandate or delay it. Given this week’s news from the Supreme Court, any carriers, particularly small ones, hoping for a reversal of the mandate should get busy to get compliant by December.

Have you started to install Electronic Logging Devices yet? If not, there is no reason to wait any longer. For months now the experts have been saying that the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) didn’t have much of a chance of stopping the new ELD rule.

Now they have lost at every level of court. OOIDA did take it all the way to the Supreme Court and that court would not even hear the case. So it is over. December 18, 2017, all trucks that operate in the United States will have to have an ELD system installed. Yes, I know that there are some exceptions and conditions but basically, that is it. Get the ELD system installed!

Now for those of you that have not yet started to look at ELD’s, there are two major systems to consider: Satellite and Cellular.

Satellite gives you the bells and whistles; more information and more sophistication. They have certainly been around the longest and are much more mature as far as knowledge and systems go.

The cellular providers of ELDs are the new people on the block. They may not be as full-featured and robust as the satellite systems but what they lack in sophistication, they make up in their price. They are usually significantly less expensive than the satellite providers. The cellular systems will work everywhere that cell phones will work. And while cell phone reception is not 100% all of the time, if you are operating in an area where the system doesn’t connect, the device stores the information and uploads it as soon as it has a connection. In this way, nothing is lost.

Both systems will allow the driver or the carrier to fax, email, or print the logbook.

In a snapshot, the satellite systems are more sophisticated, and the cellular is less expensive.

Both systems let the drivers complete their logs book electronically from the cab. The logs can be inspected at the roadside or by a scale officer. So what is the biggest difference between all the different systems?

It is the dashboard interface that the people in the office get to view. The systems for the drivers will all be similar and even if they are not, the drivers will quickly get used to the device. But the office personnel will see major differences between the different devices and systems. That is a big deal; the office personnel interface.

Each of the systems gives different information for the dispatchers and load planners to use. All of the ELD systems will give some basic information such as location and alerts and when the drivers are running out of hours.

So which are you going to choose; Satellite or Cellular? You have a great number of choices. There are several suppliers of the Satellite devices but OMG; there are more cellular supplies than I can count. So the choice is yours and if you haven’t made it yet because you were hoping that this new law would be changed, canceled or delayed, you had better get moving. It is generally accepted that it takes a driver 3 weeks to get used to using an ELD system. So you will need to test several suppliers and check out the office personnel interface. Good luck.

Please be safe out there.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.