COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA/WBTW)- Thousands of 18-wheelers travel South Carolina roads daily. The trucks and equipment are a crucial piece of the puzzle for goods and services transported in, out, and around the state.
But, a change is coming to the industry that will require truckers to take one extra step to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
It’s a federal mandate that’s been in the making for at least a decade and is aimed at improving safety and compliance. Called an “electronic logging device,” the equipment replaces current paper logs.
There are more than 140,000 commercial drivers license holders in the state; about 50,000 are commercial truck drivers.
These drivers will now have to add a new piece of equipment to their rigs. The ELD makes sure the driver behind the wheel stops when he or she is supposed to and cuts down on fatigue.
“The old technology that the early adapters use only logged the hours. These ELD’s pretty much monitor everything that goes on in the truck..it’s hard wired to the engine with a computer system… so it tracks speed, location hard braking… it is a black it is a black box,” explained Rick Todd, with the SC Trucking Association.
Several companies have already switched to some form of electronic logging before the mandate went into place at midnight December 17, 2019.
But, the upgrades and installations do come with a cost.
“It gets expensive and what the fleets have to do is pass those costs on to their customers you just can’t absorb these costs so it causes everything to increase in price,” added Rick Todd.
Drivers who don’t comply with hours of service can face fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. There are exceptions to the mandate; however, those drivers would be limited on how much traveling they can do and how far they can travel to continue to use paper logs.