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Jessie Robinson

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Dec 1, 2017

3 minute read

Fleet Management Blog

ELD Mandate: What to Do Before the Deadline

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate deadline is approaching quickly—it will be here in three weeks! So what do you need to do by December 18 to be in compliance and what can your drivers still get away with?


As a quick refresher, let’s review what the ELD rule actually says. The ELD mandate requires commercial drivers who must prepare hours-of-service (HOS) and records of duty status (RODS) to use ELDs and keep certain supporting documents, and prohibits the harassment of drivers based on ELD records.

The ELD mandate is intended to make tracking and sharing RODS data more efficient and to promote a safer work environment for drivers.

Who does the ELD rule apply to?

Your organization must comply with the ELD rule if you currently maintain RODS per FMCSA Regulation Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a), which includes commercial buses, trucks and Canada and Mexico-domiciled drivers.

However, drivers are exempt if they:

  • Operate short hauls
  • Use paper RODS for eight days or less every 30-day period
  • Conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the item being delivered is the vehicle itself
  • Drive vehicles manufactured before 2000

Can your organization use any ol’ ELD?

Not exactly. Your ELD must be registered with the FMCSA, which the organization maintains a list of here. Smartphone and tablet-based ELDs are allowed. Notice that the FMCSA does not endorse any of the devices on the list. Make sure to check this list periodically to ensure your device has not been revoked.

Also, keep in mind that ELD companies self-certified these listed devices, so you will want to do some due diligence before purchasing one. To assist with your search, has compiled a growing list of vetted ELDs.

Will there be any exemptions to help with the transition to ELDs?

Yes. While the ELD mandate will be enforced starting December 18, 2017, there are a couple exemptions that will be granted for a period of time.

Now until April 2018, drivers cited for failure to comply with the ELD mandate will not receive points affecting their Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) scores, although they may still be fined. In addition, drivers will not be placed out of service for failure to comply until April of next year.

Until December 16, 2019, carriers can use a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), as long as it meets the requirements of 49 C.F.R. 395.15.

For the next five years, drivers using smartphone or tablet-based ELDs will be able to change their duty status while away from their vehicle. Also, carriers will be allowed to set up their ELDs so that drivers do not need to re-input a yard-move status every time their vehicle is powered off.

So what do you need to do by the ELD mandate deadline?

If you are not exempt from using ELDs, your organization needs to select and implement devices by December 18. Although waiting to adopt ELDs may not penalize your CSA score or place your vehicles out of service for the first few months, you are still subject to potential fines and could be using this grace period to help work out the kinks in the implementation process.

Once you have chosen the ELD, according to the mandate you must have a supporting ELD information packet inside the commercial vehicle as well. The packet must include:

  1. An ELD user manual
  2. An instruction sheet outlining data transfer mechanisms and instructions to produce and transfer driver hours of service records to safety officials
  3. An instruction sheet describing reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures in case of an ELD malfunction
  4. Blank paper driver RODS graph-grids sufficient for at least eight days of duty status records

Packet items #1-3 can be electronic.

What if my organization has other ELD-related questions?

The FMCSA created a comprehensive FAQ document that delves into many other questions and concerns you may have regarding ELDs. We recommend checking out this resource.

The fleet industry is constantly changing and you have enough to keep up with as it is! Control the chaos of fleet management and try Fleetio Manage for free for 14 days.


About the Author

Jessie Robinson

Jessie Robinson

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