English Proficiency to Become More Crucial as ELD Mandate Takes Effect

Phil Cohen

freight factoring

In past articles, we have addressed the significant role that immigrants play in the trucking industry. With a troubling trucking shortage looming over the industry, immigrants have stepped in to bolster the truck driver population.

As a result, there are many truckers on the roads whose first language is not English. In fact, some drivers are suspected of having basic/poor English, a situation that violates the terms of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and could cause hazardous conditions on the American highways. Law enforcement officers are expected to take punitive measures against drivers that do not meet the FMCSA’s language standards. And, with ELD mandates, the pressure may be on like never before for foreign-born truck drivers to up their English proficiency— check out the details below.

The ELD Mandate and English Language Requirements

Per Part 391.11 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations, commercial truck drivers in the United States must understand English well enough to converse with the general public, respond to official inquiries and fill out reports/records.

That said, there are a strong number of capable, skilled truckers on the roads today whose English may not be up to par, per the standards. But, under the outgoing system, drivers’ logs are audited at roadside. One need not be fluent (or even proficient) in English to navigate through the process.

The implementation of the ELD mandate changes that paradigm, though. ELD’s are a decently complicated technological device, and the typical law enforcement officer won’t have the tech-savvy to understand how to read it right off the bat. It will thereby be the truck driver’s onus to help the auditor understand the technology, a task that is impossible if the driver doesn’t have strong English.

It is imperative, therefore, that trucking companies ensure that all of their drivers have the capability to have these types of detailed conversations in the English language. If not, drivers could face punishment and it could make life harder for the trucking company owner. Life can already be plenty tough for small trucking company owners—are financial troubles preventing you from growing your small trucking fleet? If so, take a look at transportation factoring and increase your business’s efficiency.


Photo of author

Phil Cohen

Phil is the owner of PRN Funding and sister company Factor Finders. He has been an authority in the factoring industry for over 20 years, serving on the board of directors for several factoring associations.


Get Started Now

Secure the funds you need today.