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Quick Guide to the FMCSA’s ELD Mandate

Quick Guide to the FMCSA's ELD Mandate
Author: Vik Sridhar, Solutions Engineer, HOS Expert

The long-awaited final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) has been released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The new ELD regulations mandate the use of electronic logging devices for records of duty status (RODS).

What Is the ELD Rule?

According to the FMCSA’s official announcement, the ELD rule will “improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ with hours of service regulations that prevent fatigue.” ELDs will benefit the trucking industry in many ways, by saving time and costs associated with paper logs, increasing the efficiency of record-keeping and inspections, and most importantly, by preventing accidents and saving lives.

See Also: ELD Exemptions & Frequently Asked Questions on the ELD Mandate

Timeframe for Compliance

To phase-in the use of ELDs, the FMCSA has set out two specific implementation deadlines. By December 18, 2017, all affected motor carriers and drivers must use either an ELD or AOBRD (automatic onboard recording device). By December 16, 2019, all motor carriers and drivers subject to the rule must use only ELDs.

fmcsa eld timeline

ELDs for Safer Roads and Greater Efficiency

An ELD (or electronic logging device) automatically records Hours of Service (HOS), driving time, and monitors information such as location, engine hours, vehicle movement, and miles driven. The ELD collects these critical pieces of data by attaching to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and synchronizing with the engine.

Key advantages of using ELDs over paper logs:

  • Saves time — More time for driving and taking care of business!
  • Saves money — Less money spent on paper logs and administration.
  • Reduces risk of error.
  • Makes compliance easier.

Is My Fleet Affected by ELD Rule?

Essentially all CMV carriers that operate across state lines will be impacted. Any driver who maintains 8 or more days worth of duty status logs, out of 30 days, will require an ELD. The FMCSA does allow exceptions for drivers who are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS), as well as:

  1. Drivers who use RODS for not more than 8 days during any 30 day period.
  2. Drivers of vehicles older than model year 2000.
  3. Driveaway-towaway drivers, as long as the vehicle driven is part of the shipment.

If you are a motor carrier, it’s important to begin the transition to ELDs now.

To help fleets in the planning process, Geotab has prepared a quick guide to updated ELD regulations: Understanding the FMCSA’s Final Rule on ELDs: An Overview of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and Compliance for Fleets. Click on the banner below to read the full report.

In this report, you will learn:

  • What is an ELD?
  • Who does the new ELD rule impact?
  • What should motor carriers do to comply?

Geotab can help. Ask about our solutions for HOS/DVIR compliance.

Geotab Drive is Geotab’s FMCSA compliant solution for Hours of Service (HOS), Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting, and driver identification. The smart driver app syncs data between the Geotab GO device and a tablet to provide numerous functions, such as automatic duty status changes, violation alerts, among others, and complete end-to-end inspection workflow. Geotab Drive is compatible with the Geotab GO device; IOX-USB; and Android or iOS.

Learn more simplifying compliance on our ELD page here.

More ELD News:

ELD Extension Act Defeated in U.S. Congress

Are AOBRD Devices Still Compliant?

Transport Canada ELD Mandate — What We Know

While Geotab recognizes our place as a self-registered ELD manufacturer and provider and we will answer questions regarding those Hours of Service (HOS) ruleset options we provide, neither Geotab nor any of its employees, officers or agents can offer legal advice to any resellers or customers concerning which HOS ruleset(s) or exemption(s) may apply to any particular situation. Please contact your local DOT department or refer to the FMCSA website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ for questions Geotab is unable to answer.

Originally published March 2016. Updated March 2018.


  • Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    as far as I know all the software features are fully exploited in vehicles over year 2000 this I understand is on heavy weight vehicles my question, is this the same limiting for particular light weight vehicles? such as chevrolet corsa for example used in some Fleet that are under year 2000

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Usually a light duty vehicle will not require an ELD due to the low weight. However, if there was a requirement for a light duty vehicle — our devices will very likely work.

  • Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic White Paper!!!
    I noticed that this was published a couple of years ago – are the dates still valid?

    • Posted April 9, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Yes, the FMCSA has only added more exemptions over time — the core ELD rules have not changed.

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