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The federal government just confirmed it will enforce a law that truckers hate starting this month

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance confirmed that it would begin fully enforcing a new change to its unpopular electronic-logging-device (ELD) mandate on December 17, with no “soft enforcement” grace period for truckers to adapt to the new rules.

The original mandate came into effect two years ago, spearheaded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees all of America's commercial drivers, including its 1.8 million long-haul truckers. The agency said that long haul truck drivers needed to either use an electronic logging device or an automatic onboard recording device beginning in December 2017, and gave truck drivers a three month grace period to adapt to the rules.

The latest change in the mandate says that truckers will no longer be allowed to use automatic onboard recording devices. And the CVSA, which is tasked with enforcing FMCSA regulations through roadside inspections, says that it will enforce the latest change to the FMCSA's mandate without any allowances made for drivers switching from the old onboard recording device to the electronic logging device.

The CVSA's press release said that there would “be no extensions or exceptions made to the Dec. 17, 2019, ELD rule deadline,” and that “inspectors will begin fully enforcing the ELD rule on Dec. 17.”

A widely unpopular rule

The ELD mandate was originally intended to help enforce hours-of-service rules for truckers, by ensuring truckers don't drive for more than 11 hours a day, that they work a maximum of 14 hours a day, and that they take regular breaks. But it has drawn the ire of truck drivers who complain that the mandate has slashed salaries and just made the job more unsafe.

Truckers like Steve Manley, 52, told Business Insider last May that the ELD mandate had simply pushed drivers to beat the clock, with no regard for the consequences.

“The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock,” Manley said. “Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with the mandatory breaks and such.”

This August, the FMCSA announced it would modify its longstanding hours-of-service rules, in response to the many driver complaints it had received about the ELD mandate. It made five changes, to make truck driver shifts more flexible. But it left the electronic-logging-device requirement untouched.