Professional interstate drivers have been required for the past several years to use ELDs to keep track of their hours of service. Since the implementation of the mandate, many states have also adopted ELD use for intrastate drivers. California is next, adopting ELD use for drivers at the turn of the year.
The California Highway Patrol has issued a final rule requiring ELD use by intrastate drivers on and after Jan. 1, 2024. The rule requires the use of devices that meet the requirements in Part 395, Subpart B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) by drivers who currently use paper records of duty status to record their hours of service.
Since this ruling specifically affects California’s intrastate drivers, it is essential for fleets to understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s definition of “intrastate.” According to Jill Schultz, J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. senior editor for transport safety, this understanding is necessary to ensure compliance, prevent violations and avoid service disruptions.
“The big deal for fleets is understanding the differences when it comes to interstate and intrastate commerce,” Schultz said. “If a motor carrier doesn’t correctly identify its operations, the motor carrier and its drivers may be in violation of the regulations, which can lead to fines and penalties.”
Intrastate commerce includes drivers and vehicles that remain exclusively within a state. Travel does not include crossing state lines, travel over the border into and/or from Canada or Mexico, or transporting cargo or passengers originating in or destined for another state or country.
For California fleets subject to the ELD requirements, training should also be top of mind. The new rule requires that drivers be trained in the proper operation of ELDs. These training requirements — coupled with installation time and the innate learning curve associated with new technologies — make it crucial for carriers to start the compliance process early.
“If you haven’t started the process to comply with the California ELD mandate, you need to start today,” Schultz advised. She recommends fleets look for ELD providers that can help an organization through the transition with dedicated services for hardware installation, back-office setup, driver and employee training, policy updates, and the like.
Fleets shopping for ELD providers should ensure the ELD is on the FMCSA’s list of registered ELDs before purchasing devices in order to avoid unexpected compliance issues.
While getting a new tool up and running can be frustrating, ELDs provide a wealth of benefits. Fleets that use ELDs can leverage data to stay competitive in challenging economic times, as they can help improve driver productivity and trip planning, eliminate fuel waste, and run a safer operation.
Some of the benefits motor carriers can expect from ELDs include:
- Integrated mapping to locate vehicles, track dwell time, establish geofences and plan trips efficiently.
- Ability to monitor fuel use.
- Tracking risky driving behaviors like speeding, hard braking and tailgating.
- Optional automated International Fuel Tax Agreement and International Registration Plan reporting.
- Visibility to drivers’ available hours.
- Electronic driver vehicle inspection reports.
These additional benefits are a game-changer for fleets experiencing an economic squeeze. They make ELDs an attractive — and intelligent — option for motor carriers.
“ELD use is a best practice for any driver as it provides a framework for reducing fatigue and mitigating risk,” said Schultz. “ELDs support a company’s commitment to stated policies and procedures to prevent fatigued driving.”
As the year winds down, interstate and intrastate carriers alike would be wise to take a moment to review all safety requirements, ensuring understanding and compliance across the board. This process should include making sure all drivers are trained on safety regulations as well.
Find out more by downloading J. J. Keller’s Interstate VS Intrastate: Understanding Compliance Requirements white paper.