Beginning on December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate went into effect, requiring most commercial trucks to maintain a digital log of their hours. While some trucking companies have had the required ELDs or other E-logs for some time, smaller fleets or independent carriers may have never dealt with ELDs before. The learning curve for the ELD mandate can be steep if you haven’t ever used one before, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has criteria that must be met to abide by the law. Let’s go over some basic information about ELDs, learn more about the requirements set by the mandate and see what needs to be done to avoid penalties.
What is an ELD?An ELD, or electronic logging device, is a piece of technology that connects to the engine of a truck or bus to determine how long the vehicle has been running, at what speed and when breaks are taken. ELDs replace the traditional paper log books that have been used to keep hours of service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS). Drivers are responsible for keeping a functioning ELD that correctly maintains their hours of service. ELDs ensure that others are able to check your driving hours if you are pulled over or stopped.
Who has to comply?Simply put, if you drive a commercial bus or truck, you will likely have to comply with the ELD rule. The ELD mandate applies to anyone who drives a commercial motor vehicle as defined by the FMCSA. The FMCSA defines a commercial motor vehicle as a vehicle that:
- Has a weight of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is used to transport 8+ passengers for compensation or 15+ passengers not for compensation
- Is used to transport material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous
- Drivers who operate with short-hauls may continue to use time cards but must still maintain RODS
- Drivers who use paper RODS for 8 days or fewer in a 30 day period
- Drivers who do drive-away tow-away operations
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000