A quick look at the 2017 analytics for OverdriveOnline.com shows an unsurprising insight: coverage of the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate stole the spotlight from the year’s start to finish.
Coverage of the mandate and its myriad of twists and turns dominated the news cycle throughout 2017. It also dominated Overdrive’s usual in-depth coverage of the industry, with Senior Editor Todd Dills, among others, penning several examinations of how the mandate is likely to affect trucking and owner-operators. (See a full list of those stories here in the E-Log Shift series.)
While the ELD mandate commanded the industry’s attention this year, other trends in the year emerged, too. Below is a look at some of those trends, with links to the pertinent articles published here on Overdrive in the year. For a full review of 2017, broken down in a month by month look at the year’s top stories, see Overdrive Associate Editor Matt Cole’s year in review coverage at this link.
The year of the ELD — mandate descends despite protests, appeals to the Supreme Court, action in Congress and swirling enforcement questions.
The two main trends surrounding the ELD mandate in 2017 included the mechanics of the mandate itself, such as enforcement questions and compliance options, and the efforts of those hoping to topple, or at least delay, its implementation. Dozens, if not hundreds, of ELD-related stories hit the pages of Overdrive this year. Below is a recap of the high notes.
Of note from an enforcement perspective, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the enforcement partnership of state and industry in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced measures to take a soft approach to enforcement in the months after the December 18 compliance deadline. CVSA said it wouldn’t be issuing out-of-service orders for noncompliance until April 1, and FMCSA followed by announcing ELD infractions wouldn’t count against carriers’ CSA scores until April 1. FMCSA also issued a 90-day waiver of compliance to certain livestock and ag haulers, giving them until March 18 to adopt an ELD.
Many states themselves, likewise, are taking soft and/or not-so-soft approaches to ELD enforcement, covered in-depth here by Overdrive’s Todd Dills as the mandate’s deadline hit. Though all are enforcing the mandate, some are taking a more lax approach than others for the first few months.
The mandate’s December 18 compliance date held despite ramped-up efforts in the year by truckers, trade groups and others who sought delays — or scrapping the mandate outright.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Associations led the anti-ELD charge on the governmental front by lobbying Congress and the courts to provide ELD relief. For instance, the group filed an appeal with the Supreme Court asking it to hear its case against the mandate after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals twice ruled against OOIDA. The nation’s high court declined to hear the Association’s case.
An OOIDA-backed bill was introduced in Congress by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who proposed delaying the mandate’s compliance date two years, to 2019. The bill saw no action in Congress.
Truckers, too, formed grassroots anti-ELD groups (notably, ELD or Me and Operation Black and Blue) and held multiple days of protests in Washington, D.C., in October — joined by many around the country and with significant demonstrations in California as well — hoping to have their concerns about the mandate heard by Congress, the DOT and anyone else who would listen. Other protests/anti-mandate media-outreach efforts were held across the country then in early December. See coverage of some of the year’s protests at the links below.