ELD (Electronic Logging Device) hours of service are regulations that govern how much time truckers can spend driving and working. In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues one set of rules that applies to all states. However, some states have their own additional rules. Texas has its own intrastate hours of service ruleset that is different from the federal ruleset. In this blog post, we will compare the Texas intrastate hours of service ruleset with the federal hours of service.
What is the ELD mandate?
Before we get into the Texas HOS let's do a quick review of the ELD mandate. It is a rule enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2017 to increase safety for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The ELD mandate requires drivers of commercial vehicles subject to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to use an FMCSA-registered ELD to track and manage their Records of Duty Status (RODS). ELDs provide more accuracy than traditional automatic onboard recorders (AOBRDs) and electronic onboard recorders (EOBRs) because they connect directly to trucking engines, making it impossible to falsify usage and log information. By transitioning to ELDs, the FMCSA aims to ensure that commercial drivers have a safe work environment and that vehicles are operated safely.
Texas HOS compared to Federal HOS
Even though the actual trucking ELD device will be the same, the key difference is whether you deliver freight interstate or intrastate. Although your company may be based in Texas, the moment your vehicle crosses a state line the federal rules will apply. We made an easy-to-understand comparison table below:
Enforcement, Penalty & Fines
When it comes to enforcement and penalties related to the ELD mandate and Hours of Service rules, both Texas Intrastate and Federal rulesets are enforced by the same agencies. The FMCSA allows state agencies to perform audits and monitor compliance. It is their job to ensure that all trucking ELDs are in use and accurate, and that drivers follow HOS rules. Violations or crashes can increase CSA scores—short for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability—and if they rise above thresholds the agency deems safe, they will intervene and investigate.
Fines for ELD and HOS-related violations can be very hefty. In Texas during the fiscal year 2020, the FMCSA enforced 615 cases and collected just under $3 million in fines—more than any other state. It is important for drivers to understand the differences between Texas Intrastate and Federal rulesets and to be aware of the potential penalties for non-compliance. With proper understanding and knowledge, drivers can rest assured that they are safely driving within the limits set by the state and federal government.
The ELD mandate is an important regulation to keep in mind for trucking fleets, as it affects their Hours of Service and driving time. Though the Texas intrastate ruleset allows for more leeway in regard to how many hours a driver can be on the road, it is still important to review all the exceptions and guidelines before committing to any changes. ELDs have become an essential tool for fleets to stay in compliance with federal HOS regulations and make sure that drivers don't exceed their legal limits. Understanding the difference between Texas intrastate HOS regulations and Federal HOS regulations improves the safety of everyone on the road.