ELD Mandate: Rerouting the Trucking Industry

Deadline to Comply Looms Near

On December 18th, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate goes into effect nationwide. The days when truckers could log their miles and hours by hand will soon be in the rearview.

Enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD mandate requires truckers to purchase and link a computerized device to their rig’s engine and onboard system. ELDs capture truckers every move: whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, and where the vehicle is located.

Some large companies, such as FedEx and UPS, have already been utilizing these devices. However, the majority of owner-operators have not.

Under the mandate, truckers will have limited driving time. 11 hours of driving a day within a 14 hour workday. Also, there is a requirement to take 10 consecutive off-duty hours per day.

Less Fatigue or Less Patience?

The intent of these embedded time-trackers is to greatly reduce roadway accidents. ELDs aim to do that by eliminating inaccurate reporting and minimizing the number of fatigued drivers. However, many truckers argue this will only add pressure to their already deadline-driven jobs, which, in turn, will outweigh the positives of reduced fatigue.

In an article by Overdrive Magazine, Darrell Wright, an owner-operator of a three-truck company, explains how this mandate may actually cause more hazardous driving. “If I’m driving 74 miles per hour and I see a car easing up on me, I will usually let off and let the car go on, but after the ELDs go into effect I can’t give that courtesy anymore because every time I let off the accelerator I lose money,” said Wright.

Trading Autonomy for Information

Another concern is data collection. To the FMCSA, constant collection will benefit the industry by clearly communicating driver, truck, and route trends. For example, ELDs can precisely track time spent waiting for loading and unloading. This will expose companies who are consistently making drivers wait unreasonable lengths of time. Theoretically resulting in more efficient shippers.

However, trucking has historically been one of the most independent professions. The idea of being tracked, monitored, and rigidly regulated leaves an unconstitutional taste in the mouths of free-spirited truckers. Most of whom already know their jobs can be done without data pools of information.

Indeed, such a sophisticated device creates a vulnerability to hacking and potential risk to drivers hauling sensitive cargo.

During an interview with Q13 Fox news, President of the United Independent Truckers of America, Harry Singh, said “This is a violation of our privacy.” Singh went on to say, “Having the tracking system in our trucks will allow the government to track us 24 hours a day and that’s not good for privacy and it’s not good for safety reasons.”

With less than one week before the deadline, the FMCSA remains full speed ahead. This, despite legislative delay attempts and ongoing truck-stop protests. Once implemented, a driver caught without an ELD can be fined or even be placed out of service.

Semi Truck Mud Flap Laws By State

article-new-thumbnail_ehow_images_a07_2f_0u_mud-flap-requirements-1_1-800x800Mud flaps may not be something you think about as you climb in your truck, but don’t let your record get dinged on account of ignorance.

Did you know there are no federal mud flap laws?  Because laws are set by each individual state, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) doesn’t mention them in its list of safety regulations.  So what mud flaps should you put on your truck?

Here’s what you need to know before adding mud flaps to your rig…

In Texas, Arizona, Delaware and Missouri, your mud flaps should be no more than 8 inches from the ground.  However, if you’re driving through Alaska, your mud flap only needs to hang 14 inches from the surface of the ground.

Maryland requires that mud flaps extend from the truck to the ground the same length as the tire’s width (If the tire is 12 inches wide, the mud flap should be 12 inches long).

While some states are more lenient, in Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania mud flaps must prevent debris from leaving the tire at a minimum 22.5 degree tangent angle.

Last but not least, New York law states that your mud flap can’t be more than 1/3 of the distance from where the bottom of the mud flap makes contact with the back wheel.

Some states are stricter than others, but with so many states having different requirements how do you obey the all the laws?  To be on the safe side, general guidelines recommend that your mud flaps don’t hang more than 6 inches from the ground.

If you are curious about any of the other 41 states’ specific rules regarding mud flap laws, check the department of transportation website for that particular state.

It’s also important to note that there are federal regulations regarding the use of conspicuity tape (reflective tape) on or near mudflaps.You can find information on those regulations on our Reflective Conspicuity Tape page on our website. For a full breakdown of the rules, check out this handy guide:

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FMCSA Conspicuity Requirements for Commercial Motor Vehicles