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10 FAQs About the ELD Mandate Every Carrier and Shipper Should Know

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate will go into effect beginning December 18, 2017. By that time, many large-scale trucking companies will have already implemented ELDs across their operation. However, many smaller trucking companies have yet to install such devices on their trucks. 

1. What are some key components of the ELD mandate?

  • Use of ELDs is required for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators who are required to prepare hours of service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
  • ELD devices are required to be certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and must comply with standards for performance and design as described in the mandate.
  • Supporting documents are required to be maintained as proof of service.
  • Harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology such as a fleet management system is prohibited; recourse for such actions are provided by the mandate.

2. Which carrier companies will be required to install ELDs? 

The mandate applies to most motor carriers and drivers who currently maintain RODS based on legal requirements. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled motor carriers are also required to use ELDs, except those who qualify for an exemption. 

3. When will my fleet be required to install ELDs?

There are three phases to ELD implementation:

Awareness and Transition Phase: 

This initial two-year period following publication of the ELD rule began February 16, 2016, and ends December 18, 2017. During this time carriers and drivers subject to the rule should research, plan and budget for ELD compliance. The following methods of recording will be allowed: paper logs, logging software, Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRDS) and ELDs that are registered and listed on the FMCSA website.

Phased-In Compliance:

Between December 18, 2017, and December 16, 2019, carriers and drivers subject to the rule will be allowed to utilize AOBRDS that were installed in vehicles prior to December 18, 2017 and certified, registered ELDs list on the FMCSA website.

Full Compliance:

After December 16, 2019, all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use certified, registered ELDs that comply with requirements of the mandate.

4. How will the ELD mandate affect carrier companies?

The use of electronic logging devices will have a large effect on the trucking industry. According to the FMCSA, benefits of the mandate range from helping create a safer work environment for drivers to an easier, more accurate way to collect RODS data. ELD rules require carrier companies to invest in a new technology. The impact of installing ELDs in a large fleet could impact capacity at first by maintaining more accurate hours of service logs. In addition, investing in ELDs could present a financial burden on a trucking company. Ensure your fleet is prepared to invest in this new technology  and consider utilizing a portable ELD or compliant wireless device to reduce the initial cost of the mandate. 

5. Which ELD devices are compliant with the mandate?

 The FMCSA has provided a list of registered ELDs here. As more ELDs come onto the market, it's important to understand the minimum requirements of ELD functionality. The FMCSA has provided a checklist carriers can use when determining which ELD they will use for their company. 

6. Can I use a mobile device to track my ELD-required data? 

Yes – the FMCSA has acknowledged the cost burden many ELD devices place on carrier companies. Smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices can be used as long as the technology meets the technical specifications of the ELD mandate, including hardwiring into the truck's engine. 

7. Will vehicle location information identify street addresses? 

No. Vehicle position information does not identify a truck's exact location. Identifiable locations correspond to the name of a nearby city, town or village, and a state abbreviation. In addition, the FMCSA will not retain any ELD data unless there is a violation. 

8. How often does the ELD record location data?

When the vehicle is in motion, ELD data is recorded every 60 minutes, as well as when the driver powers up and shuts down the engine, changes duty status, or indicates personal use or movement within the yard.

9. What are supporting documents and when do I use them?

Supporting documents are related to a driver's records of duty status (RODS). Motor carriers must maintain up to eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period of on-duty time. If more than eight documents are retained, the carrier must keep the first and last document generated during the regular course of business.

10. What actions must be taken in the event of an ELD malfunction? The following procedure must be followed if the ELD incurs issues:

  • Note the malfunction of the ELD in the form of written notice to the carrier within 24 hours.
  • Reconstruct the record of duty status for the current 24-hour period and previous 7 consecutive days.
  • Record RODS on graph-grid paper logs in compliance with 49 CFR 395.8, unless the driver has the records or is able to retrieve them from the ELD.
  • Continue to manually prepare RODS in according to 49 CFR 395.8 mandates until the ELD is functioning properly.

The FMCSA has created a resource library detailing ELD requirements. Visit the FMCSA's website for more details about the upcoming mandate.