Trimble requests extension to FMCSA repair mandate

Logistics company Trimble Transportation (NASDAQ: TRMB) has requested an extension to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) eight-day electronic logging device (ELD) repair requirement, as the company struggles to update devices that malfunctioned when 2020 arrived.

“Driver connectivity is our top priority, and we recognize the impact that this issue has caused to our customers and their drivers,” Trimble spokesperson Lea Ann McNabb told FreightWaves in an email.

On Jan. 1, drivers and carriers started reporting widespread problems with PeopleNet ELDs. (PeopleNet is a Trimble company.) Among the complaints were a higher-than-usual number of outages, along with sluggish login times and other system malfunctions.

The problems were eventually traced to the new calendar year, which caused a disconnect between the systems’ GPS and server clocks. The clocks did not sync, putting the devices into a continuous reboot.

The FMCSA’s ELD mandate requires a motor carrier to repair or replace a malfunctioning device “within eight days of discovery of the condition or a driver’s notification to the carrier, whichever occurs first,” according to the agency’s website.

A motor carrier may file an ELD malfunction extension request via email, to include the date  and location of each ELD malfunction and “a concise statement describing actions taken by the motor carrier to make a good faith effort to repair, replace, or service the ELD units.”

McNabb said Timble’s request for an extension is to “ensure that customers have the flexibility to update devices in a way that best fits their operational needs.” The extension would also allow drivers to continue using paper logs while the fixes are underway.

The company “continues to work closely” with customers to implement software updates that restore connectivity, McNabb said, and is “committed to updating the remaining impacted g3 devices in a timely and complete manner.”

The FMCSA did not immediately respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.