Home: ELD Answers: FAQs about ELDs

Frequently Asked Questions

You’re aware that a new law will require ELDs for commercial driving operations. These are answers to the most often-asked questions regarding these devices and what the regulations mean to you.

Q: What is the definition of 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 Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) or Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR).

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 Electronic Logging Device (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: Isn’t there legal action against the ELD Rule regarding the privacy issue?
A: Interest groups have filed challenges related to this concern more than once since the mandate was first proposed. On every occasion the legality of the ELD rule have been affirmed, based on the multiple safeguards protecting drivers and fleets.

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 about privacy concerns?
A: ELD technology collects the same driver data that is currently monitored and recorded with paper logs. A muting function, limits on geographical tracking and other measures allow the driver to maintain a separation between duty hours and off-duty time.

For more information:
•    www.fmcsa.dot.gov/elds

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 if I’ve been operating without paper logs; will adopting ELDs invite more attention?
A: Again--the ELD Mandate doesn’t change the requirement for keeping records; it only automates it. By passing this rule the government has indicated that it’s taking a closer look at the system, and at businesses that are obligated to maintain HOS data. ELDs make it easier to avoid violations, not harder!

Q: What is the FMCSA registration list for ELDs?
A: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a list of ELD products from various manufacturers. These products were submitted by these companies with a statement that the device meets the minimum operational requirements specified by the agency.

The products have not been formally evaluated or tested by FMCSA.