ELD mandate may be very costly for carriers

California trucking companies are wrestling with the impending "electronic logging device" mandate. On Dec. 18, 2017, compliance with the ELD mandate will be required for all truck driving companies, and for carriers with large fleets compliance will be prohibitively expensive.

The Federal Motor Carrier Motor Safety Administration ("FMCSA") issued this mandate in 2015. The devices are intended to electronically log the hours that the trucks are driven to prevent drivers from falsifying their logbooks. The FMCSA says that this will reduce accidents by keeping fatigued drivers off the road, and claims this will save the industry $1.6 billion per year in record-keeping costs.

Trucking companies have argued that the mandate will severely increase the costs of compliance. The devices are estimated to cost between $199 and $2,200 per truck, plus monthly service fees of $20 to $60 per truck. For large carriers that have 10,000 trucks, for example, the cost will be in the tens of millions of dollars. Even independent operators are arguing against the mandate because they are unable to receive financing for the devices and already operate with thin profit margins.

National carriers with large fleets may face annual compliance costs ranging from $2.4 million to $7.2 million not counting the initial installation cost of the devices in each truck. Companies might benefit by getting advice from business litigation lawyers about regulatory compliance issues. Attorneys might help their clients with understanding how to comply with the requirements, and they might litigate issues on their behalf in court. If the companies are cited for violating regulatory requirements, the attorneys may defend them in court and before regulatory agencies.

The ELD mandate is likely to be a big headache for carriers nationwide, and experienced lawyers may help their clients with making smoother transitions with the installation of the devices.

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