Home / News / What to know about the US ELD Mandate FAQ - ELD Mandate Basics
What to know about the US ELD Mandate FAQ - ELD Mandate Basics

What to know about the US ELD Mandate FAQ - ELD Mandate Basics

Why do we have the US ELD mandate regulations?

The electronic logging device mandate, effective on Dec. 18th 2017, requires most carriers and drivers to convert from using paper logs or logging software to a registered ELD if they do not have an automatic on-board recording device in use.

And to those drivers using AOBRDs prior to the mandate’s effective date will only be able to keep using them for two more years - until Dec. 16, 2019.

It’s a mandate that has led to a lot of questions, with the government continuing to clarify and tweak the regulation over the last few months this year.

We’ve endeavored to find answers to the most common questions that arise from the FMCSA training road shows, print media, drivers, owner-operators, fleet owners, and social media starting with the basics of the ELD mandate


1. What is an Electronic Logging Device?

An ELD is a recording device that records vehicle parameters through its synchronization to the vehicle’s engine control module or ECM. It also allows for entries related to a driver’s record of duty status (RODS) to show compliance with hours of service regulations.

    2. How is an ELD different from e-logs currently in use?

    The e-logs — either in the form of logging software or AOBRDs — that some fleets have been using do not meet the new technical specifications prepared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that ELD providers must adhere to.

    • First, ELDs now provide a consistent and more standardized specification for data provided to inspection officers. ELDs may look different but they all are producing the same output file as required by the regulations.
    • Second, the biggest difference ­­— the ELD specification incorporates what are called edits and annotations, and does it in such as way that if a driver’s record of duty status needs to be corrected or edited, they can do that under certain situations.
    • Third, a big difference between AOBRDs and ELDs is the ability to provide data transfer to inspectors at roadside and during compliance reviews. This process per the FMCSA enabled more accurate and faster than enforcement officials deciphering handwritten logbooks


    3. What are the key requirements of the ELD rule?

    The key requirements of the rule include:

    • Requiring ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
    • Setting ELD performance and design standards, and requiring ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
    • Establishing what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
    • Prohibiting harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management systems).
    • The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

    4. Can an ELD be on a smartphone or other cellular enabled device?


    • An ELD can be on a smartphone or other cellular enabled device if the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications, which includes being able to access data from the truck’s engine.
    • A portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during commercial motor vehicle operation and visible to the driver from a normal seated driving position.
    • Only devices that have been certified and listed according to FMCSA requirements will be considered compliant.

    5. When does the ELD rule go into effect?

    • Motor carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must start using ELDs by the compliance date of Dec. 18, 2017, unless they are using a grandfathered AOBRD.
    • A grandfathered AOBRD is a device that a motor carrier installed and required its drivers to use before the ELD rule’s Dec. 18 compliance date.
    • The device must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15.
    • A motor carrier may continue to use grandfathered AOBRDs until no later than December 16, 2019.
    • After that, the motor carrier and its drivers must use ELDs.


    6. What information is automatically recorded by an ELD?

    • An ELD automatically records the following data elements at certain intervals: date, time, location information, engine hours, vehicle miles, and identification information for the driver, authenticated user, vehicle, and motor carrier.
    • ELDs are not required to collect data on vehicle speed, braking action, steering function, or other vehicle performance parameters.
    • However, some ELDs may be part of a larger in-cab computer system that does collect this kind of data for the carrier’s use.

    7. How does the ELD determine driving/non driving status?

    • An ELD must automatically switch to driving mode once the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is moving faster than a set speed threshold of 5 mph.
    • The vehicle will be considered stopped once its speed falls to 0 mph and stays at 0 mph for three consecutive seconds
    • When the duty status is set to driving, and the CMV has not been in motion for five consecutive minutes, the ELD must prompt the driver to confirm a continued driving status or enter the proper duty status.
    • If the driver does not respond to the ELD prompt within one minute, the ELD must automatically switch the duty status to on-duty not driving.


    8. How is location data recorded?

    • Location data must be recorded by an ELD at 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is in motion, and when the driver powers up and shuts down the engine, changes duty status, and indicates personal use or yard moves.
    • During on-duty driving periods, the location accuracy is approximately within a 1-mile radius.
    • When a driver operates a CMV for personal use, the position reporting accuracy would be approximately within a 10-mile radius, to help protect driver privacy.
    • The required location information is not precise enough to identify street addresses.
    • For each change in duty status, the ELD must convert automatically captured vehicle position in latitude/longitude coordinates into geo-location information that indicates the approximate distance and direction to an identifiable location corresponding to the name of a nearby city, town, or village, with a state abbreviation.


    9. Does the ELD rule require real-time tracking of CMVs?


    • Real-time tracking of CMVs is not required in the ELD rule.
    • However, a motor carrier may use technology to track its CMVs in real time for business purposes.
    • A motor carrier is free to use this data as long as it does not engage in harassment or violate any Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).


    How should an ELD record a driver’s hours of service when operating in another country such as Canada?

    • FMCSA says the ELD provider may tailor the device to its customers’ needs and operations to assist them in accurately monitoring drivers’ hours of service compliance in accordance with the hours of service standards of the country operated in, such as cross-border operations.
    • Canada presently does not have regulations requiring the use of ELD, but is in the process of developing the framework for such a regulation.
    • Canada does allow the use of AOBRDs, and will accept AOBRD- or ELD-generated logs from drivers using such devices.
    • Be aware that U.S. regulations do not require an ELD device to be compliant with another country’s regulations, so while a device may be compliant with the U.S. rule, it may not be compliant with any regulations Canada may eventual produce.
    • Check with your ELD supplier to verify that the device in question will comply with Canada’s rules.


    References and Thank You

    • FMCSA 2017 Training Roadshows
    • Indiana State Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division – Facebook Live - Officer Brent Hoover
    • Truckinginfo.com – "70 Answers to Top ELD Questions"