When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its final rule in December 2015 requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record hours of service (HOS) for commercial drivers, the agency did more than just demand an equipment change.
The new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations came with a long list of requirements necessary for carriers and drivers to meet in order to be compliant.

Below are answers to the most often asked questions regarding the devices and how the regulations affect you:
Q: What is an ELD, and how is it different from the other electronic devices in use?
A: An ELD, or electronic logging device, is a tablet computer used to record driver hours of service (HOS). It replaces paper driver logs and other systems including an Automatic On-Board Recording Device, or AOBRD. As a full-function instrument, an ELD automatically records both driver and vehicle data. It records and transmits the driver’s HOS, engine and vehicle data, information the driver inputs, and more.
Q: Who is required to use an ELD?
A: Basically, everyone who currently uses a paper log or AOBRD will need to replace that system with an ELD. This includes:

  • Interstate CMV drivers currently required to keep RODS (record of duty status)
  • Vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds
  • Vehicles with placarded hazmat loads
  • Vehicles carrying more than 8 or 15 passengers (depending on vehicle class)

There are a few exemptions. They are:

  • Drivers who operate within a 100-air-mile radius, who may continue to use timecards
  • Non-CDL freight drivers who operate within a 150-air-mile radius
  • “Drive away, tow away” operators
  • Vehicles manufactured before model year 2000

Recordkeeping with paper RODS is permitted for no more than eight days within any 30-day period.
Q: When do the ELD regulations go into effect?
A: ELD rules became law February 16, 2016. The compliance date, the day when use of ELDs in the described applications becomes mandatory, is December 18, 2017. For vehicles equipped with an AORBD, these must be upgraded or replaced to meet full ELD status by December 16, 2019.
Q: Does an ELD affect vehicle operation?
A: An ELD is a recording and transmitting device. It does not control the vehicle systems. The driver remains in charge.
Q: What is ELD event data recording?
A: Event data recording comprises:

  • Engine power-up and shutdown
  • Driver login/logout
  • Duty status changes
  • Personal use or yard moves
  • Certification of driver’s daily record
  • 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is in motion
  • Malfunctions, diagnostic events

Q: What exactly does an ELD record and transmit?
A: The device records and transmits the following:


  • Date
  • Time
  • Geographic location
  • Engine hours
  • Vehicle miles
  • Driver or authenticated user identification
  • Vehicle identification
  • Motor carrier identification

Q: These inputs are recorded automatically. What can be recorded manually?
A: Drivers and selected support personnel are able to augment the record with information such as:



  • Annotations (explaining or expanding on a data point), when applicable
    Location description, when prompted by the ELD
  • CMV power unit number
  • Trailer number(s), if applicable
  • Shipping document number, if applicable

Built-in safeguards prevent falsifying these files. Edits are tracked and have to be approved by the driver.
Q: What will this mean for my business?
A: Commercial vehicle operators are already required to keep records of duty status. ELDs are not changing that; they’re merely a more effective means of capturing the same information. Records maintained by ELD offer significant advantages to the company and the driver. Compared to paper HOS sheets, ELD recordkeeping:



  • Saves time
  • Saves money
  • Improves safety
  • Promotes efficiency
  • Reduces errors
  • Reduces effort

Q: What is the FMCSA certification list for ELDs?
A: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a list of ELD products from various manufacturers. These products are “self-certified,” that is, their names were submitted by these companies with a statement that the device meets the minimum operational requirements specified by the agency.

This article was originally featured on Ryder.com.


Comments (3)

Ana Hernandez

Marketing Manager, Digital Content Delivery Ryder System, Inc.

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Time to Prepare

December 22, 2015


This ELDs mandate really helping owners to track HOS for their work and saving a lot of paperwork. ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. Apart from these services, I even implemented an ELDs Lockdown software MobiLock Pro to get overall control of these devices. It really helps in saving data cost and improve work efficiency.

December 15, 2017 5:11:27 AM

Really looking forward for the ELDs . Less clutter and more professional .

February 22, 2017 20:03:18 PM

Good article Ana. It really explains the new regulation.

February 10, 2017 10:15:55 AM