As part of the ELD mandate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that a motor carrier repair or replace a malfunctioning ELD “within 8 days of discovery of the condition or a driver’s notification to the carrier, whichever occurs first.” Section 395.34(d) of FMCSA’s rules also allows a carrier to seek an extension of the 8-day period if the carrier is unable to repair or replace the ELD within the 8 day period.
Should you or your drivers encounter a device in need of repair or replacement, there are a few important steps to keep in mind to ensure that you remain compliant with the mandate. To help you do so, we put together some information about the 8-day repair window and what the process is to request additional time if needed.
What’s the process for requesting an extension of the 8-day repair or replace window?
1. Per Sec. 395.34(d), you must submit a request, within 5 days of a driver notifying you of the ELD malfunction, to the FMCSA Division Administrator in the State where you maintain your principal place of business (for FMCSA compliance purposes).
A State-by-State list of FMCSA offices, including address and phone #, can be found here. FMCSA has also created an “ELD Support” landing page, which includes an email address a carrier may use to file an extension request. The email address is ELD-Extension@dot.gov.
2. Your request must include:
– Motor carrier name, your name, address and phone #
– Make, model and serial number of each malfunctioning ELD
– Date & geographical location of each ELD malfunction, as reported by your driver
– A short statement describing the actions you’ve taken to make a ‘good faith effort’ to repair, replace or service the broken ELD(s), including why you need additional time. A good description of your good faith effort is critical. Be concise, respectful and professional.
3. There is no FMCSA form for making this request. Given the time-sensitive nature of your request, carriers should use the ELD-Extension@dot.gov email address. Be sure to also keep a copy for your files.
What happens next?
- Whether your request is granted, or not, FMCSA will email you a short letter.
- According to FMCSA’s rules, this letter is a “final agency action,” meaning there is no appeals process.
- If your request is granted, the letter will likely include a requirement that your driver carry a copy of the letter in the truck with the malfunctioning ELD, and that you keep a copy of the letter at your place of business.
- If your request is granted, there is no requirement for you to notify FMCSA when your ELD is repaired or replaced (unless the FMCSA letter includes that condition, which is unlikely).
What happens if FMCSA doesn’t quickly respond to my request for a time extension?
It is almost certain that, in some cases, FMCSA won’t be able to quickly respond to extension requests. Fortunately, Section 395.34(d)(5) of FMCSA’s rules says that if a carrier’s extension request is timely filed and complete, then they are “deemed in compliance” until FMCSA makes an extension determination. This section clearly anticipates that there will be times when an FMCSA office won’t be able to respond within the 8-day period.
Have additional questions on how this process works? If so, email Trimble’s ELD and regulatory consultant, Dave Osiecki, of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.