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Top Questions About the ELD Mandate

March 2017, Work Truck - Feature

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

There is a lot of information available on the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and you may not know where to start finding out about the upcoming compliance deadline and requirements.

Here’s a quick list of some frequently asked questions and answers related to the upcoming ELD mandate based on information from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):

Q: When does the ELD mandate take effect?

A: Since Feb. 16, 2016, ELD manufacturers have been able to register and self-certify their ELDs with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and motor carriers have been able to elect to use ELDs listed on the website. All motor carriers and drivers subject to the requirements in the ELD rule must begin using an ELD or “grandfathered” automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) on Dec. 18, 2017.

Q: What exactly does the ELD mandate base compliance on?

A: Compliance needs are based on whether drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) currently need to complete records of duty status (RODS). Operating trucks is not the determining factor of compliance.

Q: So, who does the ELD mandate impact?

A: The ELD applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain RODS per part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers. This is only estimated by the FMCSA to impact around 3.4 million drivers.

The ELD rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate, including:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs. 
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for no more than 8 days out of every 30-day period. 
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered. 
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the 2000 model-year.

Q: What, exactly, does an ELD do?

A: 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. 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.

Q: Do portable devices and/or smartphones qualify?

A: A driver may use a portable ELD. A portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation and visible to the driver from a normal seated driving position. This information can be found in the ELD Rule section 395.22(g).

An ELD can be on a smartphone or other wireless device if the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications. Drivers are allowed to utilize their own devices, but certain caveats apply.

Q: Where can I get an ELD compliance solution?

A: Several providers already have ELD-compliant solutions on the market, with more coming out soon. Check out our “ELD Solution Spotlight” for some potential options.

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