Out-of-Service Orders for Failure to Comply with Electronic Log Mandate to be Issued Beginning in April  

On April 1, 2018, Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and state officials will begin issuing out-of-service orders to drivers who are found in violation of the electronic logging device (“ELD”) mandate. This will mark an end to the “grace period” that was in effect after the final rule establishing the ELD mandate came into effect on December 18, 2017. During this period, those found in violation of the final rule would not have their CSA scores penalized if found without an ELD. However, this will change April 1st when those in violation will be charged under 49 CFR 395.8(a), the regulation currently used for those traveling without log books at all. In addition to announcing the imminent enforcement of the ELD mandate, FMCSA has also recently outlined return-to-duty status for those drivers who receive out-of-service orders related to the ELD mandate. Specifically, those drivers cited for violating the ELD mandate will be placed out-of-service for a period of ten hours. This is no different from when a driver was pulled over without paper logs prior to the enforcement of the ELD mandate and is the same for both freight haulers and those carrying passengers. Following the ten hour out-of-service period, DOT and state officials will allow drivers to proceed to their final destinations, regardless of the distance, but only if the driver has a paper log. This highlights the importance for carriers to obtain and install ELDs as soon as possible, if they have not done so already. If, for some reason, a carrier is unable to install an ELD by April 1, the carrier should expect its drivers to be cited. If a driver is cited in violation of the ELD mandate, the driver must keep a copy of the citation in the truck so that the drive can complete the trip without receiving duplicative citations. Drivers will be expected to use an ELD on their next trip or they will be subsequently cited again. It is important for carriers to remember that while the enforcers are well-trained, there have been many reported cases of DOT and state officials issuing ELD-related citations under the wrong regulations. This could present ways to combat these citations. If you suspect your company has been issued a citation incorrectly, or if you have general questions about the out-of-service orders, please contact Kevin Coghill at 804-377-1273 or kcoghill@setlifflaw.com.