Ninety days can seem like an eternity if you’re waiting to get married or start a new job.
But if you own or drive commercial trucks in America that have not yet been equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), the next 90 days probably won’t seem like nearly enough time to get those vehicles ready to operate under the new ELD Mandate that takes effect Dec. 18.
With very few exceptions (see them here) nearly all commercial trucks in the U.S. must be equipped with a compliant ELD device by that Dec. 18 deadline.
So the rush is on. And it’s being complicated by some ELD device manufacturers’ inability to obtain in timely fashion the critical parts that form the brains of the devices. ELD manufacturers have to compete with the makers of smartphones, 4K TVs, gaming devices, PCs and tablets, computer servers, automobile engine and system management systems, manufacturing equipment controllers, Bluetooth-enabled devices, fancy new Wi-Fi-equipped refrigerators and countless other products for the finite number of high density digital memory devices, better known as memory chips. There’s a finite number of those that can be made during any one period of time, and ELD manufacturers aren’t even among the chip-makers’ biggest customers. So some ELD makers are telling their customers to expect to wait eight to 10 weeks to receive devices they order today, which would leave only three to five weeks for truck owners and operators to get them installed before reaching the mandated deadline.
Omnitracs predicted that demand for ELDs in the second half of 2017 would swamp the computer memory industry’s ability to meet that demand, so we negotiated memory device and other supply chain contracts to best prepare ourselves with critical supply to keep making ELD devices ahead of the ELD Mandate deadline.
Even then, finding garage time and the necessary truck downtime (especially in the busy pre-holiday inventory building up period this fall) to get ELD devices installed on the million trucks that still don’t have them promises to be a challenge. And the longer truck operators wait to get their trucks equipped with ELD, the harder it will get to find mechanics and garages with the time to do that work.
But companies that act both quickly and wisely can still meet the deadline. And that’s really important. Failing to meet that deadline can be very expensive. Enforcement officers promise to be out in strong numbers after Dec. 18. Trucks found not to have ELD devices, and drivers found to not be using their ELDs properly will be subject to substantial fines. And there’s zero discussion of waiving fines in the first weeks and months after the deadline. So the primary financial threat from operating without an ELD after the deadline remains very much in place.