ELD Mandate

Stay FMCSA ELD Mandate Compliant

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What is the ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate is the legislation issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and enforced by the DOT, that requires CMV drivers, subject to HOS, to record driving hours electronically using an approved electronic logging device (ELD).

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Electronic Logging Device

What is an ELD?

ELD is an electronic logging device that is connected to a vehicle to automatically record driving hours for the purpose of preparing HOS reports. The recorded driving data can be accessed remotely (e.g. by dispatchers or compliance managers), viewed by the driver (using a smartphone or tablet) or a DOT officer (such as during a roadside inspection).

Yes. An ELD is permitted to be on a smartphone or wireless device if it meets all of the rule’s technical guidelines and connects to an engine computer module of a vehicle. ​

Yes. Drivers are allowed to use portable electronic logging devices as long as they are mounted in a fixed position in the commercial vehicle while driving. The driver must be able to view it from his or her typical seat.

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FMCSA ELD compliance

Who is affected by the ELD Mandate?

The ELD mandate affects millions of commercial drivers. Motor carriers and drivers who are required to maintain their records of duty status (RODS) are affected by the Electronic Logging Device Mandate. The regulations apply not only to United States-based drivers but also to those who reside in Canada and Mexico. In addition, it applies to commercial buses and trucks. If you are required to complete a RODS or HOS logbook, then it’s likely you are required to follow the FMCSA ELD rules  – however there are exceptions.

ELD Mandate Exemptions

The FMCSA allows for the following ELD exemptions

Short-Haul Exemption

The short-haul exemption is for drivers who use the 100 air-mile radius exception or 150 air-mile radius. If you are a driver who uses short-haul exceptions, timecards are still a valid option for you. Those who fall into this category are not required to keep RODS and will not be held accountable for not implementing electronic logbook system.

8-Day Exemption

You may be excluded from the DOT ELD mandate if you are a driver who keeps paper RODS for eight days or less out of every thirty-day period.

Driveaway-Towaway Operations Exemption

If the commercial motor vehicle being driven is part of a shipment (the truck is the product being delivered) an ELD is not required.

Pre-2000 vehicles Exemption

Last but not least, drivers of vehicles made before the year 2000 (vehicle models dated 1999 (based on the VIN) or earlier) are also exempt from the ELD mandate.

The thirty-day period applies to any thirty-day period instead of being limited to one calendar month. For example, January 20 to February 20 is considered one period.

Authorized safety officials are permitted to review and maintain copies of all motor carrier records. Additionally, they may ask for any other data necessary to perform their jobs.

Yes. A registered vehicle’s model year is established by the criteria set out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is possible that the model year on the registration does not match the engine model year. This is commonly the case when the truck is reconstructed using a glider kit. 

When this is the case, authorized safety officials should use the model year listed on the engine to decide if the driver must comply with the ELD mandate. In situations where the engine is older than year 2000, the driver does not have to follow the ELD rule. 

In cases where the engine model year reflects that it was made in the year 2000 or later but the vehicle registration shows a model year older than 2000, the motor carrier must comply with the ELD mandate. 

Drivers are not required to keep documentation that confirms engine model year. All information pertaining to the age of motors and engines must be kept at a motor carrier’s main place of business. If the engine age cannot be determined on the side of the road, law enforcement should consider investigating the case further with the motor carrier. 

Yes. If a motor carrier is exempt from the requirements of 49 CFR Part 395.8, they do not have to comply with the ELD rule. 

Yes. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers must keep up with the federal regulations and hours of service rules whenever they are doing business in the United States. These regulations include the use of electronic logging devices that are compliant with 49 CFR Part 395 unless they are exempt. Drivers who do business across multiple jurisdictions should be able to annotate their duty status on the device with any. Information necessary when they are doing business outside of the US.

The electronic logging device may customize the device to a customer’s needs and specific operations to help them monitor their drivers’ hours of service compliance depending on which country they are doing business in such as those who do business in both Mexico and the United States or Canada and the United States.

Yes. Drivers can still use vehicles that are equipped with ELDs even if they are exempt from having to use one. Motor carriers can reconfigure the ELD to show the exception for the exempt driver or annotate the record to show the status.

Hours of service exemptions are not changed by the ELD rule. Motor carriers who are exempt as it is defined in 395.1 are not subject to Part 395. This does include the ELD rule, as long as they are operating under the terms of their exemption. The driver’s duty status may be marked as off-duty (with annotation) or exempt.

Yes. Keep in mind that the ELD must comply with the mandate’s technical stipulations. The electronic logging device is allowed to use other sources to gather or estimate all required vehicle considerations. Section 4.3.1 of the ELD rule sets out these guidelines and accuracy requirements. 

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How does ELD work and function?

ELD devices are synchronized with vehicles, driver apps and the fleet manager portal

ELDs record date, time, location, engine hours, and vehicle miles. They also record the required information for identifying a specific driver, user, or motor carrier.

The data surrounding location is recorded each hour when the vehicle is in motion, as well as when the engine is turned on and off. It may also be recorded when a driver changes duty status and uses the vehicle for personal use or yard moves. 

No. The technology is not accurate enough to identify a specific street address. When a change in duty status occurs, the electronic logging device captures latitude and longitude coordinates and turns them into a geo-location that gives a rough idea of the distance or direction to a specific location. It usually corresponds to the name of a city or town with a state abbreviation. It is accurate within a one-mile radius.

No. An electronic logging device does not collect any information surrounding vehicle speed, braking, or steering. They only collect information to determine whether a driver is compliant with hours of service (HOS) regulations.

ELDs do not control the vehicle. It is simply a recording device that notes the parameters of the vehicle through synchronization with the engine and creates a log of a driver’s RODS.

The accuracy of an ELD’s location information is roughly within a one-mile radius when it is being used during on-duty driving periods. If the vehicle is being used for personal errands, the reporting accuracy will be within a 10-mile radius.

All ELDs must be synchronized with the engine of the vehicle in order to monitor engine operation, capture power status, monitor motion status, record miles driven, and document engine hours.

ELDs are required to switch automatically to driving mode once the vehicle reaches a speed of five miles per hour. If the speed of the vehicle drops to zero miles per hour and remains there for a minimum of three seconds, the vehicle will register as stopped.

The device will ask the driver to continue into a driving status when it is put into driving mode but has not been in motion for five minutes. If the driver does not correct or respond to the prompt within sixty seconds, the ELD automatically changes to on-duty not driving.

The location of the vehicle will not be as accurate when used for personal conveyance. Instead of being recorded within a one-mile radius, it will be recorded as a ten-mile radius. This time will also be documented by the ELD using a different line stye such a dashed or dotted line. 

ELDs are required to display data for co-drivers who are logged into the system.

Yes. A driver who is not driving a vehicle is allowed to make edits and entries over his or her records while the vehicle is being driven. However, drivers will not be able to switch roles while the vehicle is currently being driven. 

No. The ELD captures all duty statuses. The old methods of handwritten records often relied on intervals of fifteen minutes when keeping records of duty status (RODS). However, an ELD is designed to more accurately reflect a driver’s real time spent behind the wheel. Electronic logging devices have  no minimum amount of time that statuses can or should be engaged. 

 This is not designed to say that activities that require less than fifteen minutes are suspect. It is only designed to say that the real-time requirements to complete the task are significantly less than what may have been recorded long ago on paper RODS.

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Key Electronic Logging Device Regulation Requirements

ELD Mandate Requirements

If you are a commercial driver who is required to prepare hours of service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS), then the FMCSA ELD mandate may require you to use an electronic logging device or an ELD.
The DOT regulations also set up performance and design requirements for this technology, all of which must be certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The ELD rule also set up requirements for supporting documents that drivers and motor carriers must keep on hand.
The ELD law bans the harassment of drivers based on this data collected by the electronic logging devices and provides some recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

Read the full FMCSA ELD Mandate legislation below: 
49 CFR Parts 385, 386, 390, and 395

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FMCSA ELD Mandate Compliance Timeline

Enactment and Notice

Feb. 16, 2016

When the law stating that CMV carriers need to replace their HOS recording methods with an ELD became effective.

General Compliance

Dec. 18, 2017 

The date by which CMV carriers were required to start using either an approved ELD, AOBRD or EOBRD.

Full Compliance

Dec. 16, 2019 

Vehicles currently equipped with an AOBRD or EOBRD must be upgraded or replaced by an ELD by this date.

ELD Compliance Updates

Apr. 1, 2020

Regular Electronic Logging Device Mandate updates are being published to ensure DOT & FMCSA compliance and enforcement.

ELD Mandate Updates

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ELD Regulations Information

A driver who must comply with the ELD mandate should have a packet of information available in the truck. This packet should contain a user’s manual for the ELD so that the driver can consult it with any questions about how to operate the device. It should also have an instruction sheet to describe how to transfer data that is recorded by the ELD along with clear instructions for producing and transferring HOS records to their safety officials. 

Another instruction sheet should be available describing the different ways that your ELD may malfunction and how to keep records during these system failures. In the event that the ELD does malfunction, there should be an eight-days’ worth of paper RODS graph-grids to keep pertinent records.

No. The user’s manual and all instruction sheets can digital in accordance with the federal register titled “Regulatory Guidance Concerning Electronic Signatures and Documents.”

Motor carriers are required to keep all data, as well as their back-ups, for a minimum period of six months. When keeping the back-up copy, it should be maintained on a separate device from where the original data are stored. All records must be kept in a way that promotes the privacy of the driver.

The motor carrier is for ensuring that their device is registered with the FMCSA. This will require them to check the registration and revocation list regularly. The list of approved devices can be found on the FMCSA website. If an ELD is removed from the approved list, the FMCSA will attempt to notify those who may be affected by the change. It is prudent to sign up for ELD updates to receive these types of notifications.

It is not required to configure the driver account to record special driving categories. However, if the motor carrier does configure this for a user, the printout will show the periods using a variety of line styles including dashed lines, dotted lines, and perhaps shading. The graph-grid should also show the appropriate abbreviation. 

 If the motor carrier does not configure the driver to allow for special driving categories, it will be up to the driver to annotate the record to demonstrate when these categories take place.

Yes. A vehicle manufactured in the year 2000 or newer without an engine control module (ECM) must still comply with the electronic logging device mandate. If the current engine does not support this function and is unable to obtain an ECM, the motor carrier must find an ELD that does not depend on ECM connectivity but still meets the accuracy requirements of the rule.

ELD Supporting Documents

Supporting document requirements went into effect on December 18, 2017.

Eight supporting documents are required for every 24-hour period that a driver is on duty. At the latest, drivers are required to submit their RODS and other supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than thirteen days after receiving them. If a motor carrier has more than eight supporting documents, the rules require them to keep the first and last document created.

Motor carriers should keep at least six months’ worth of records.

Yes, there are several different categories for supporting documents. These documents are necessary to verify a driver’s RODS. They can fall into one of five categories: 

  •     Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or other documents that specify the starting and stopping point of each excursion
  •     Dispatch records, trip records, or similar documents
  •     Expense receipts related to on-duty time spent not driving
  •     Phone or text message records showing communication via a fleet management system
  •     Payroll records, settlement sheets, or other documents that show driver payment

If a driver keeps paper RODS, the carrier should also keep all toll receipts. If you have a driver who keeps paper records of duty status, these toll receipts do not count toward the eight required supporting documents. 

Drivers are not required to physically maintain records of phone and text communications or payroll. These documents may, however, be a part of a larger electronic record retained by the carrier or kept physically at the main business location. The information contained inside of electronic mobile communication records is only counted as one document per day. 

No. Documents from throughout the day are significant for complying with the 60/70 hour rule. This helps to ensure HOS compliance with the rule based on the total number of hours a person works over a set period. Supporting documents are essential to verify the duty statuses in determining fulfilment of the 60/70 hour rules. 

Any supporting document should contain the following items: 

  •     Driver name, carrier-assigned identification number, or vehicle unit number as long a the information can link the document to the unique driver 
  •     Date
  •     Location
  •     Time

If the motor carrier can produce eight documents that contain all of the above four elements, documents that contain everything except time will also be accepted.

If a driver has and submits more than eight documents, the motor carrier is required to keep the first and last documents of the day as well as six others. If the driver submits fewer than eight documents, all documents must be kept. 

Drivers should provide all of the supporting documents they have to any authorized safety official for review whenever requested.

ELD Editing and Annotations

Paper RODS are not kept on either an ELD or an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD). Instead, they are kept manually or on a computer that does not sync up with the vehicle. Printouts of RODS from electronic logging devices are the statements that the devices are required to create whenever requested by an authorized safety official.

An edit changes the record but will not cancel out or overwrite the original record. An annotation is a note or update related to the record that drivers or other authorized individuals can manually input into the ELD. All edits, no matter who makes them, should also be annotated to note the reason for the change.

An edit showing a time switch from off duty to on-duty but not driving should be annotated to note the reason. Then, both should be sent for driver approval.

Yes, drivers can annotate records to show the beginning and end of a certain period. This can include use of the vehicle for personal use, yard moves, adverse driving conditions, or oilfield operations.

Both drivers and motor carriers are permitted to make edits to the record in order to correct mistakes or fill in missing details. Edits are required to include an annotation explaining the reason for the change. Once this is completed, drivers must approve that all edits submit the records. In a situation where the driver does not approve the change, this is shown in the record as well. 

The ELD is required to keep the original record along with the new changes.

The ELD shows the driver’s records of duty status, but both drivers and carriers are responsible for the records. Driver approval of edits is designed to protect drivers from one-sided changes. If the driver is unwilling or unable to approve the edits, the carrier’s edits and annotation are still shown on the record.

The initial records are kept after edits and annotations are added. When drivers wish to see the records but cannot access them directly from the ELD, the motor carrier should provide them, limiting these requests to a six-month period. RODS must only be kept for a six-month period.

No. ELDs are designed to record information including when the vehicle is actively in motion. It cannot be edited to reflect this time as non-driving time instead.

All of the driver’s work should be accounted for according to the hours of service rules. Without operating the vehicle with an ELD, the driver can add his or her not-driving work into the system manually.

Yes. These edits are permitted to keep a precise record of duty status. The electronic logging device does keep the original record along with the date, time, and identity of the person making edits.

If this is the case, the ELD in the vehicle the driver is operating should be able to produce a complete report for that driver whenever requested for the current 24-hour period and the previous seven days. 

Both motor carriers and drivers are both responsible for ensuring that RODS information is available for review at the roadside. If the driver has multiple ELDs that are not compatible, the driver must enter any missing duty status by hand or provide printouts from other systems. This allows authorized roadside personnel to see an accurate representation of RODS for a given 24-hour period and the previous seven days.

The electronic logging device mandate demands documentation of the record of duty status for a particular vehicle, so the information from the previous week should either be uploaded into the new ELD or made available in paper format.

The driver associated with each time record may be edited. The drivers may be swapped on the record if the record inaccurately reflects who was behind the wheel. Each co-driver must approve the change for this edit to be made.

Drivers must look over this time when logging in. If the unassigned time does not belong to the driver, it should be noted in the record. If it does belong to the driver, it should be added to the documentation.

Motor carriers must be able to notate why time has been unassigned. Alternatively, they may assign this time to a driver. They are required to keep all unassigned driving records for a six-month period.

Drivers who use vehicles for personal use must annotate on the record that the driving time is for personal use.

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