Top 10 Things to Know about ELD Mandate


Now that the final rules are out and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is in effect, it’s time to get educated and then implement. As with any new technology, there are plenty of questions surrounding ELDs. At its core, the law aims to heighten road safety by ensuring that drivers are abiding by Hours of Service rules. There are, however, some side benefits to drivers as well – increased efficiency as well as time and cost savings. This white paper will focus on the top 10 things that every professional driver should know about the rules.

ELD: Top 10 Things to Know

1. Definition of ELD

First, it’s important to understand how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines an ELD: “An ELD is a recording-only technology, used to track the time a CMV [commercial motor vehicle] is operating. An ELD is integrally connected to the CMV’s engine, uses location information, and is tamper resistant. An ELD automatically tracks CMV movement, but allows for annotations by both the driver and the motor carrier’s agent to explain or correct records. An ELD is not necessarily a physical device; it is a technology platform, and may be portable or implemented within a device not permanently installed on a CMV.”1

2. Data elements that will be automatically recorded

As per the final rules, there are a number of data pieces that are automatically recorded by ELDs:

  • Date
  • Time
  • CMV location
  • Engine hours
  • Vehicle miles
  • Driver or authenticated user identification data
  • Vehicle identification data
  • Motor carrier identification data

What kind of vehicle location information will be recorded?

Communication of vehicle data and hours of service is transmitted over a mobile network. FMCSA doesn’t require the use of the satellite-based global positioning system (GPS). In addition, an ELD must give drivers the capability to input when they start and end personal use and yard moves, where the CMV is in motion but a driver is off driving duty.

When the ELD records the required dataset

An ELD records the dataset at 60-minute intervals:

  • When the vehicle is in motion
  • At the time of any duty status change the driver inputs
  • When a CMV’s engine is powered up, or shut down

Personal conveyance

If a vehicle is used for personal conveyance, an ELD wouldn’t record that time as on-duty driving. An ELD can recognize the difference between driving and on-duty not driving, and automatically update status. Also, when a driver indicates personal use, recording accuracy for position information is reduced to a single decimal place, or within a radius of approximately 10 miles.

Integral synchronization

The FMCSA mandate requires synchronization with the CMV engine to automatically capture engine power status, vehicle motion status miles driven and engine hours.

3. Who must comply

Commercial drivers who currently record their hours will be required to use an ELD to track Hours of Service (HOS). ELDs must retain HOS electronic log records for up to six months.

Those who use paper logs must implement an ELD within two years – by December 2017. Those who currently use first generation ELDs – Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs) or Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AORBDs) have an additional two years to become compliant – by December 2019. There is no need to scrap the legacy systems as long as your vendor – such as Rand McNally – provides compliant software for the solutions.

Those exempt from the rules include:

  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000
  • Drivers who use paper logs for no more than eight days during any 30-day period
  • Drivers who conduct driveaway-towaway operations, where the vehicle is the product being delivered
  • Drivers who operate using the logbook timecard exception (i.e. short-haul 100-air mile drivers)

4. Estimated return on investment (ROI)

As mentioned above, in addition to complying with federal law, there are other benefits to ELDs. Paperwork savings alone are estimated at $1.6 billion ($705 per driver each year) with the elimination of paper logs.

The estimated annual savings break down per driver is:

  • $543 – Drivers no longer fill out and submit paper record of duty status
  • $120 – Administrative clerks no longer file paperwork
  • $42 – Paper logs no longer needed

Carriers can collectively save an estimated $400 million each year by reducing crashes caused by fatigued driving.

ELDs can do more than track hours of service, and can serve as management tools to advance efficiency and productivity.

Drivers can quickly assess remaining on-duty driving time to schedule time more efficiently, and help improve fuel economy.

By adding in-cab ELD devices, an estimated 75 percent of carriers have reported stronger coordination between drivers and loads and improved company productivity. Also, there’s no question carriers will be better positioned to secure a competitive reputation in the marketplace by keeping drivers and loads on schedule, and increasing customer satisfaction.

5. Protection for drivers

The final rules for ELDs help protect drivers – from pressure to violate the HOS rules as well as when drivers are off the clock.

Protections included in the new rule make sure drivers have access to their own ELD records, and won’t require precise vehicle location information to be recorded that could identify street addresses. Detailed location information would be recorded only at discrete instances, such as when a driver changes duty status or at 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is moving.

Any changes in HOS made by a motor carrier would require the driver’s approval. Drivers also have the right to access their ELD data – whether an owner operator or a company or leased driver.

If a driver indicates sleeper berth status, an ELD must either allow the driver to mute or turn down the volume or completely turn off how he or she receives communications, or the device must do one of these things automatically.

6. Roadside inspection process and transfer

When stopped, a driver must be able to show/transfer to law enforcement ELD-compliant HOS records via a “single step.” This single-step transfer – enabled by a switch on the ELD or an icon on a screen – must be clearly marked and visible to the driver when the vehicle is stopped.

For roadside stops, data may be transferred through a printed hardcopy, or transferred electronically via email. Drivers must be able to show a graph-grid of HOS compliance on the ELD display or on a paper printout.

An ELD must be able to transfer data electronically either by:

  • Wireless web service; or
  • Bluetooth and USB 2.0 transfer

7. Timeline for compliance

 2017 — ELDs required for those using paper logs Professional drivers and motor carriers are required to install or use an ELD two years after the final rule takes effect (December 2017).

 2019 (“Grandfather” clause) — ELDs required for those already tracking hours electronically If carriers and drivers currently use an AOBRD and meet the ELD requirements before the compliance date, they can continue using the devices for two years after the rule’s compliance date, or December 2019 − four years from the rule date.

8. Access to data

The law builds in safeguards to protect driver privacy – such as requiring drivers and motor carrier support personnel to have proper “user authentication credentials” (e.g., username and password) to access ELD data. As mentioned above, for location information, the level of detail is limited; in fact, the accuracy of coordinates requires accuracy of a point only to a radius of approximately 1 mile.

Data transferred to authorized safety officials must be encrypted or, in the case of a display or print-out, physically protected to help safeguard personal information.

9. Benefits of early compliance

While it’s true drivers will have two years to comply – there are many advantages to switching to ELDs now. These devices can help:

  • Save time and money with reduced paperwork
  • Increase efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • Provide better HOS compliance for stronger scoring in FMCSA's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program
  • Reduce out-of-route miles with truck-specific navigation
  • Improve reporting of Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR)

10. Relax — we make it easy to comply

The best thing you can do to help your business is to just relax. Maybe you’re spending time trying to understand what the mandate will mean for your business. This complex legislation can be overwhelming when all you really need to understand is what you need to do to comply. That’s where Rand McNally can help. We will work with you to find the right ELD solution.

The Rand Advantage

For 80 years, Rand McNally has been delivering innovative products to the Commercial Transportation industry. From the early days of mileage guides and printed maps to today’s full line of navigation, routing & mileage, electronic logging, and mobile fleet management products, Rand McNally provides industry-leading in-cab and fleet office solutions. More than ever, Rand McNally is committed to the Commercial Transportation industry.

80 years and we’re just getting started.

For more information, see

Q&A with our ELD Expert

We asked Ravi Kodavarti, Rand McNally’s Director of Commercial Products, for a quick overview to help put the new ELD rules in perspective.

ELD Certification

What you need to know!



1 P. 17666, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 60 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Proposed Rules

Sources: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents; Proposed Rule; and Evaluating the Potential Safety Benefits of Electronic Hours-of-Service Recorders Final Report

These materials are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice