Everything you need to know about the ELD mandate.

November 15, 2018

The ELD mandate has been shaking up the freight industry since drivers officially ditched their paper logs for electronic logging devices (ELDs) back in December of 2017. While the mandate may have initially caused some confusion for carriers, it also presented opportunities to improve safety and efficiency.

Here are the essentials of the ELD mandate that you need to know now:


What is an electronic logging device (ELD)?

In the simplest form, an electronic logging device is an electronic solution that allows professional truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to efficiently record and track their hours of service (HOS).


What is the ELD mandate?

The FMCSA amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to optimize performance and design standards for HOS ELDs. The ELD decision was released by the FMCSA on December 10, 2015 with a 516-page mandate.


When did the ELD mandate take full effect?

The FMCSA’s ELD mandate went into effect on December 18, 2017. Now, all trucks must comply with this mandate, but if a carrier’s fleet is already using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD)—or implements one before December 18, 2017, they will have an additional two years to comply. They must be fully in compliance by December 16, 2019.


Why did the FMSCA implement the ELD mandate?

ELDs prevent an estimated 26 deaths per year – all while the industry saves more than $1 billion a year on paperwork alone. The devices also help avoid deliberate and unintentional HOS violations, as well as fines to the driver due to mistakes in paper logs. Better compliance with HOS rules ensures drivers have adequate rest to operate commercial vehicles safely.


How much does the ELD mandate cost carriers?

Equipping a truck with an ELD can potentially exceed $500 per year. However, FMCSA has created a path for smartphone apps to serve as compliant ELDs (when they interface with the truck through a cable), reducing the financial burden for carriers and greatly simplifying installation.


Are there ELD mandate exemptions?

While this rule affects millions of commercial drivers, there are situations that are exempt from the mandate:

  • Short-haul drivers: Drivers who use the 100 air-mile radius exception or 150 air-mile radius exception.
  • Driveaway-towaway operations: If the commercial truck is being handled as part of a shipment (the truck is the product being shipped).
  • Pre-2000 vehicles: Vehicle models dated 1999 or prior based on the vehicle identification number (VIN).


How does the ELD mandate impact the way carriers and shippers do business?

Supply chains will need to get smarter, team drives may get more attractive, and there’s a chance for reduced carrier capacity. In short, shipping rates are likely to increase. As a result, freight service providers may become even more essential, helping solve capacity shortages and find the best rates available.


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