Electronic Driver Logs

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What does the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule mean for drivers and manufacturers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new rule in February of 2016 regarding the use of ELD’s (electronic logging devices)

The rule states that any carrier or driver, required to submit RODS (Records of Duty Status) for HOS (hours of service), will be required to use a ELD logging device. Technical standards have been set for the manufacturers of these devices that must be met in order to be in compliance with the new rule.


What are the parameters of the ELD Rule and why has it been made?

The FMCSA made this new rule as part of an initiative to improve safety on the road while also ensuring that drivers will be able to keep total control of their own Hours of Service (HOS) records. With few exceptions, everyone must move from HOS paper logs to ELD compliant ready devices by December 18, 2017, thus electronically, replacing all existing paper logbooks.

One major plus in using the ELD’s is that you’ll be able to keep and certify your records to help prevent harassment or coercion.

Manufacturers of these devices are given the technical specifications to ensure that the products meet the standards set forth by this mandate. They must conform to ELD technical specifications, certify the ELDs, and register them with FMCSA.


The ELD Rule applies to commercial interstate truckers and bus drivers who meet the requirements based on weight or activity to record duty status information.

Some exemptions include:

  • Short haul drivers
  • Drivers who use paper logs 8 days or less during any 30-day period
  • Drive-away or towaway drivers
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000


Drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS) or use ELDs. Additionally, the following drivers are not required to use ELDs; however, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required:

  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.