What Is The ELD Mandate?

If you have heard about the “electronic logging device (ELD) mandate”, but you are a bit foggy on the specifics, then this article will answer the most important parts of your question and get you ready for the next steps in your research.

The ELD mandate, or Electronic Logging Device mandate, refers to a rule implemented by the US government’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is part of the larger Department of Transportation.

The mandate requires commercial motor vehicle drivers to use electronic logging devices to record their some of their data with an electronic device. These recordings are knowns the “records of duty status” (RODS) data, which is critical data for understanding the status and history of a commercial vehicle.

These devices — the ELDs — are intended to replace paper log books, which truckers and commercial drivers used in the past. These recordings will make is possible to confirm that vehicles are being operated and maintained properly, and thus avoiding accidents, over-use, lack of maintenance, and similar issues which can easily be overlooked or avoided entirely with paper record-keeping.

Electronic logging devices are essentially electronic logbooks and they are used for recording information at set intervals for time. The information records includes, but is not limited to:

  • Vehicle location
  • Engine running hours
  • Vehicle miles traveled
  • Which driver is operating the vehicle.

Who Does The ELD Rule Apply To?

The CFR Title 49 Part 395.8(a) says the ELD rules applies to a large range of commercial vehicles. The most simple guideline is that all trucks that weigh over 10,000 pounds (or have a gross vehicle weight rating/gross combination weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds) must have an ELD on-board.

The ELD rule does have some exceptions, which include:

  • Short-haul drivers where time cards and paper logs are still OK
  • Drivers in vehicles that use paper RODS for under 8 out of every 30 days. 
  • Drive-away/tow-away operations, “in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered”
  • Vehicles manufactured before 2000 where an ELD might installable

Where Can I Learn More?

The ELD mandate, which is sometimes called the “ELD Rule” was put into effect on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. You can read the full Federal Register file from that date here (PDF), but it’s also memorialized in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 Parts 385, 386, 390, and 395, which is entitled “Subpart B – Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).” The mandate went into effect on December 18, 2017.

These parts of the CFR outline the specifics of the ELD rule, with statements like, “A motor carrier required to use an ELD must use only an ELD that is listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s registered ELDs list…” and “Driver’s duty status. A driver must input the driver’s duty status by selecting among the following categories available on the ELD…”

While it isn’t required for all commercial drivers to read the full CFR, the rules must be adhered to in order for the business to be compliant with the laws of the United States. The specifics rulings are more more for commercial trucking companies as well as ELD manufacturers, who create and sell the devices.

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