The ELD Mandate is a set of regulations which was required to be written after the passage of MAP 21 and was set in motion by the Obama Administration on June 29, 2012 to the tune of $2 billion dollars.
There are very serious concerns associated with the ELD Mandate. Outlined below are some of the major concerns:
It is estimated that the ELD Mandate will cost the trucking industry $2 billion dollars to comply with the ELD Mandate. These compliance costs are having a disproportionate impact on small businesses. Compliance costs include the purchase of an ELD, installation, monthly service fees, and initial/continued training for drivers.
The list below shows average compliance costs per driver, per year, for small businesses
Purchase, installation, labor - $1000 per unit
Monthly service fee - $40 per unit/per month
Compatible computer software - $120 per licenses owned/as necessary
Driver training - $1000 per driver/per year
Upgrade cost - Unknown
Loss in productivity - 20% per 1600+-mile haul
There have been many claims that ELDs will make our roads safer, claiming to save up to 26 lives a year. The data that is being touted and circulated by FMCSA and supporters of the ELD Mandate is unverifiable and was conducted with a narrow focus. It has been proven that some of our country’s largest companies have some of the worst safety ratings of all trucking companies. These trucking companies alone have been responsible for upwards of 53 deaths a year. These companies have been fully utilizing ELDs since the mid to late 2000s and have yet to prove how they have maintained or improved their level of safety as it relates to the use of ELDs.
Goals of the MAP-21 law which is were the ELD Mandate can be found, are as follows:
Raise the bar to enter the industry and operate on our roads;
Hold motor carrier and drivers to the highest safety standards to continue operations; and
Remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers from our roads and prevent them from operating.
Currently, the use of ELDs by large companies and the implementation of the ELD Mandate for all commercial transporters is not meeting these goals. Furthermore, no investigations or data is being gathered to prove that these goals are being met.
A study conducted in January of 2019 out of Northeastern University, concluded that accident counts for small companies have not decreased since the implementation of the ELD mandate and there has been an increase in unsafe driving in response to loss in productivity due to the Mandate. Click here to read the entire study.
Are you any safer running an ELD? If so or if not, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to send us your ELD experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read more about MAP-21 and its goals
Since the implementation of the ELD Mandate many drivers and companies are still struggling to get their devices to work properly. Many are reporting problems such as devices not accurately tracking their location, mileage, on duty time, off duty time, sleeper berth time, personal conveyance, inaccurate speed, and HOS exemptions. Furthermore, some drivers are reporting their devices not working at all! In the worst of scenarios drivers are reporting complete system failure when a device is plugged into their truck and then the truck returning to normal when the device is unplugged….this is not to mention the few reports that have been made of devices catching fire even while driving down the road. These types of reports are all too common, unfortunately. Drivers and companies have been forced to spend thousands of dollars trying to diagnose check engine lights, error codes, and other computer-based issues as a result of having an ELD plugged into the electronic control module (ECM) of their trucks.
FMCSA has reported that it “discovered that some of the 330 ELD devices on the market do not meet the technical specifications for data transfer used to show driving hours to law enforcement. The agency declined to say how many ELD models are not working properly.” “There have been some snags in the data transfer process with some of the providers,” Joe DeLorenzo, Director of Enforcement and Compliance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Since the ELD connects directly to a truck’s Electronic Control Module (ECM) and does not simply capture the GPS movement of a truck, it puts the truck, the freight, and the driver at risk. The risks of a cybersecurity attack on an ELD are higher than many may have given much thought. Given that the components of ELDs are manufactured around the world and ELDs themselves are self-certified, there is no assurance than these devices provide any sort of security to the driver or the driver’s company.
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association commissioned a study on ELDs and their general conclusion was that all three devices they studied did very little to nothing at all to follow cybersecurity best practices and were open to compromise. They noted the following specific shortcomings in their report:
Devices shipped with debug enabled
Firmware easily accessible for analysis
Development strings present
Use of banned functions
Lack of secure boot
Lack of encryption for communications
Basically, a general failure to follow cybersecurity best practices
Furthermore, Overdrive Magazine reported the following:
“The University of Michigan made news in August 2016 when researchers at a conference presented results from their experiments with the vulnerability of big rigs’ electronic systems. As reported in Wired magazine ahead of the conference, researchers plugged into a 2006 tractor’s OBD II port and largely commandeered the truck’s internal network. In this hack simulation, researchers “were able to do everything from change the readout of the truck’s instrument panel, trigger unintended acceleration, or to even disable one form of the semi-trailer’s brakes.”
Click here to read the Overdrive Magazine article
All of the above concerns are outlined in a letter that was sent to President Trump by Representative Brian Babin (R-TX 36th District)
Click here to read the letter and all of the attachments