What is an ELD? Things to Know

What is ELD? Its Department of Transportation (DOT) required electronic hardware utilized in commercial trucking to provide an efficient and easy method to keep HOS records. Therefore, all CDL drivers who required to keep a Record of Duty Status (RODS) should use an ELD to verify the compliance of their HOS regulations.

What does ELD stand for?

ELD is an acronym for Electronic Logging Device.

They are created to make a daily job more manageable. It’s crucial to realize that ELDs don’t impose the burden of regulations for the trucking industry.


The ELD trucking connects to the vehicle’s engine and records all driving activities automatically, and updates the driver’s logs. In addition, it gives dispatchers and drivers real-time information on hours of operation and risks of violating the law.

 The HOS information is recorded automatically within the fleet management software. It allows office and management staff to look over HOS status, run reports, and design compliant route plans. 

The HOS information is visible on the tablet inside the cab; the driver can refer to the information at any time or show it during an inspection at the roadside.

Who needs an ELD?

The ELD applies to all drivers and those motor carriers who must keep documents of their duty state (RODS) per Part 395 49 CFR 395.8(a). In addition, the law applies to commercial buses, trucks, and Canadian drivers that are Mexico-domiciled.

ELD Devices can capture and transmit various data points to ensure that businesses are recording their hours of service and maximizing available driver hours. It includes:

Vehicle Information straight from your vehicle

  • Identification of the vehicle
  • Motor carrier identification
  • Date
  • Time
  • Geographic, geographical location
  • Miles travelled
  • Engine power up and shut off
  • Yard moves
  • The 60-minute intervals are a period during which motion is observed.
  • Diagnostics of the engine and issues

Information gathered by the driver

  • Identification of the authorized user or driver
  • Driver login/logoff
  • (HOS) Hours of Service (HOS)
  • Changes in status of duty (driving off duty)
  • Personal use
  • Certification of daily record of the driver

The ELD stores these data points intuitively; however, the driver or the support personnel may manually edit or notate specific entries. Edits are recorded and need to accept by the driver.

Replaced ELD with What Technology?

Fleet managers and drivers have employed various methods to keep track of driver and vehicle hours of service data. It was initially an old-fashioned paper logbook with handwritten entries, which later transformed into an Automatic Onboard Recording Device AOBRD. It is also known as AOBRD. These are computerized systems. They don’t perform all tasks of the ELD as defined in the technical specifications that are part of the ELD mandate. 

Specific drivers track their service hours with their devices – typically either a laptop or mobile phone and an app that stores and transmits this data, but these methods do not comply with the technical specifications that an ELD must meet.


The ELD mandate, also known as the ELD solutions Final Rule, is a U.S. federal government regulation that states that commercial motor vehicles that fall under the law will oblige to use electronic logging devices, also known as ELDs.

They are made to keep track of data related to the vehicle’s operations and the activity of the driver. The driver’s information is primarily related to hours of service or HOS. Commercial truckers are limited to a certain amount of time they can drive between rest periods. HOS is a record of driving hours, duty times (when drivers are on duty; however, they are not driving) and rest periods throughout a journey.

The first federal government law that obliged commercial motorists in the U.S. to keep these service records was adopted in 1937. Logbooks made of paper were initially utilized, and the data was written in.

The ELD mandate requires the replacement of old-fashioned paper logs and a type of recorder referred to as the Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) by a computerized ELD technology.

ELD Mandate Related Issues

To ensure that drivers’ have secure rights to protect drivers’ rights, the ELD mandate imposes limitations regarding what the device can be able to perform. This Personal conveyance status option restricts the tracking of geographical locations and permits drivers to separate between working hours and off duty time. 

Privacy concerns for drivers raised by a few groups, who inquired whether ELDs are automated systems that monitor the activities of drivers, are intrusive.

Despite several legal challenges to the privacy issue, the courts upheld the ELD obligation.

Drivers also wanted to find out if the electronic records created by an ELD could give them the possibility to edit or add information. The ELD authorization permits drivers and certain support personnel to make changes or notes. These notes tracked and the driver should accept.

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ELD Mandate Compliance

The ELD rule applies to commercial operations for driving that must keep records of service hours, that is, operators and drivers who had paper logbooks before passing the law.

Who is the ELD mandate cover?

  • Interstate commercial drivers are must maintain RODS (record of duty status)
  • Vehicles more than 10,001 pounds heavier 
  • Vehicles with placarded hazards
  • Cars that carry more than eight or fifteen passengers (depending on the class of vehicle)

ELD mandate exemptions

  • Drivers operating within a radius of 100 air miles and who remain using timecards
  • Vehicles dated 1999 or before exempted from the ELD mandate.
  • Non-CDL (commercial driver’s license) freight drivers that operate within a 150-air-mile area
  • “Drive-away, tow-away” operators

It’s well-known that prolonged distances in commercial traffic — such as sitting in the driver’s seat for several hours at a time -is physically exhausting. In addition, numerous studies conducted over decades have shown that fatigue is a significant cause of increased road and highway crash rates.

Logbooks on paper aren’t always precise, as there is the risk of error or miscalculation by drivers and pressure from employers to alter the hours of work. The ELD mandate calls for replacing paper logs with electronic records, which automatically records to guarantee accuracy.

If a commercial vehicle driven by an exhausted or sleepy driver causes a major accident, and this is the case, it comes into the spotlight of the regulators and news media and the general public. This awareness has led to the restriction of the number of hours a driver can work, and the requirement of keeping an official log of driver hours aren’t over.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps track of ELD products made by various manufacturers. They register them. These companies submitted the names and an assurance that the device has met the minimum requirements for an operation that the government agency sets.

Registration does not constitute a form of rating or an indicator of quality. An ELD product that isn’t on the list might already comply with FMCSA registration specifications. However, it could be the reverse issue, as the agency is currently developing the software and hardware interface. Therefore, the products listed currently, if rejected once all the specifications are figured out.


Drivers and fleets who have transitioned to electronic log devices have seen advantages beyond the requirement for compliance. The top five advantages of ELD devices include:

  • Less time in paperwork

    The FMCSA estimates that using ELDs can save $2.44 billion on administrative tasks and a $1.88 billion reduction in drivers’ time because of not having to fill out paper logs.

  • Increased Safety

    Maintaining accurate hours of service can ensure that drivers aren’t tired. It provides monitoring of driver behavior tools that can provide insight. It helps to build an atmosphere that encourages secure driving in all fleets.

  • Improvement in CSA Ratings

    A ELD eliminates human errors in recording HOS logs, ensuring that the logs are correctly and thoroughly. The research conducted by ATA has also shown that trucks equipped with ELDs had 53% fewer traffic-related violations.

  • Safe from Roadside Inspections

    Roadside inspections that are quicker Drivers will have to be less occupied with checkpoints on the roads, which means they will be more productive on the road.

  • Fleet Efficiency

    ELDs provide more than just compliance data as well as fleet owners can utilize this data to boost their profits by reducing fuel expenses by monitoring engine idle and better routing planning. Tools for planning maintenance digitally allow businesses to improve the efficiency of their vehicles.


Recording each driver’s hours (where required by an ELD) is an essential part of the DOT’s compliance requirements; however, many other aspects should also consider ensuring that both fleets and drivers comply with the standards of the DOT.

Fleet Compliance:

Driver Compliance:

  • Each driver is provided with an official copy of the FMCSA rules and gets an official acknowledgement for the document. Besides, he gets an acceptance to follow the rules that are in the document.
  • Mandatory to maintain safety records and qualification records for each driver.
  • Keep a log of the HOS (hours of service) for every driver.
  • Keep track of pre-employment drug testing for every driver. It should also contain reports of alcohol and drug use in prior employment, if there were any.
  • Conduct random alcohol and drug tests on drivers regularly as per the regulations of the Department of Transportation.

Instruct supervisors on the required alcohol and drug training prescribed in DOT regulations.

How ELDS Can Help your Company

eld one

Businesses that use ELDs have an advantage over competitors by having better federal compliance records and more critical information about the state of their vehicles. In addition, the top ELDs exceed the federal requirements to give managers complete information about what’s happening in the roadway.

Helps in Improving Compliance, Productivity and Safety

ELDs offer drivers an efficient method of entering the hours of service (HOS) information. In the case of paper logs, drivers must fill in their logs manually and then fax them after they get to a fuel station costing much time that businesses don’t require. With ELDs, drivers can quickly send digital reports directly from their in-cab devices, making it easier to stay compliant and save time.

Save Time on Repairs and Maintenance

The possibility of a vehicle stranded because of unforeseen repairs or maintenance is an expensive option. Reports on inspections of vehicles by the driver for post-trip and pre-trip inspections reduce the risk. It is essential to monitor the vehicle’s inefficiencies and requirements swiftly and keep the fleet healthy and operating all year long.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

ELDs do not require paper, which can help businesses reduce their dependence upon physical resources. Businesses can save a good amount due to the reduction in paper. Along with the savings, companies can lower the risk of paying for a federal audit through trustworthy HOS information.

Boost Driver and Dispatch Communication

Advanced ELDs offer a range of driver applications, including two-way communications, federally-compliant electronic logbooks, and driver reports on vehicle maintenance. In addition, they can send break-time notifications, communicate time-based arrival and departure dates, and permit drivers to call for assistance without phones or getting out of their cars.

Accessibility to the Vehicle Activity as well as Driver Safety

An ELD that works with an online fleet management system is more than monitoring changes in HOS status. The fleet management systems equipped with GPS tracking of the fleet that provides real-time access to the location of vehicles on a live and interactive map so that managers are always in contact with their drivers. 

Additionally, companies can utilize dashboards, reports, and business intelligence to determine the most critical aspects of their business.

The ELD mandate offers companies the chance to look into the operation of their fleets and access data that may uncover previously undiscovered weaknesses. A well-designed ELD system will provide the foundation for a more robust and more efficient business.

Why is ELDS Good for Your Business?

All businesses are trying to reduce operational costs. However, for smaller companies’ fluctuations in fuel costs, drivers’ shortages, fuel prices, and compliance with regulations make it challenging to remain in the business. According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), increasing numbers of small-sized carriers, which are averaging thirty trucks and less, are in danger of becoming into bankruptcy.

One reason, they say, is the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) by federal authorities, which makes keeping track of the hours worked (HOS) more straightforward and more secure.

Drivers can enter their hours for the day from an in-cab display. Moreover, it eliminates old-fashioned paper logbooks. Instead, a complete log of all hours work driver keeps within an electronically-generated logbook which ensures that the drivers and their carriers are in compliance and security.

But, as HOS rules govern the number of hours drivers can operate a vehicle, a number of these small-sized transporters saw their operations shrink. Drivers were earning less mileage and less money, so some decided to stop their work. The operational costs also increased for transporters as they needed to train and hire new drivers, usually with higher pay. The financial burden affected the reported 390 small trucking firms, as per Rosalyn Wilson, who wrote the report of CSCMP.

Industry of Trucking

It’s a challenging moment for the industry of trucking. However, not all transporters required to adhere to HOS regulations. A few HOS regulations apply to drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV), which weighs more than 10,001 pounds or transports hazardous material with a load that needs placards or is used for transporting passengers of nine or more has other conditions. To see the complete list, go to the FMCSA’s site.

However, HOS and ELD compliance introduces to ensure that driver safety and health are the top priority and that carriers aren’t working their workers too hard.

In the trucking business, no matter the size of the operation, one can’t be averse to the importance of safety. Many incidents of driver fatigue and fatal accidents have led to rules, such as HOS. In addition, adjusting to government regulations to ensure the safety and health of employees and people on the roads is vital to any company.

Precise data entry through the driver’s fingers through the ELD solution should do. It records data automatically and then sent to the driver’s tablet or computer to make it easy to gather information. A solution for ELD can allow you to quickly find the most skilled and safe drivers by assessing their performance and providing incentives for better driving. In addition, the identification of drivers who don’t comply with the federal or company should easily document rules. For instance, drivers who fail to sign their HOS logs or have a lunch break are automatically recorded.

Being safe and in compliance with federal laws can pay dividends on the road as well as in a driver’s pocket.

Check if your ELD depends on a 3G internet connection

Suppose you’re unsure whether your ELD is dependent on a 3G connection Contact the ELD provider. If your ELD doesn’t depend on 3G and complies with all essential requirements, then there is no need to further action.

Request your provider’s upgrade or replacement plans

If your ELD depends on a 3G connection, contact your ELD provider regarding their plans. Ask them to replace or upgrade the device with one that’s fully supported following the sunset of 3G. Then complete the necessary steps as quickly as possible.

The most recent announced sunset completion date is February 22, 2022. Take note of all dates announced and make plans in advance to avoid service interruptions or compliance concerns. 

Trinity3Logistics strongly recommends motor carriers adopt the steps as quickly as possible to prevent compliance issues, as parts of the 3G networks used by carriers will not be supported in advance of the scheduled sunset dates.


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