Are All ELDs in the FMCSA’s List 100% Compliant?
Are All ELDs in the FMCSA’s List 100% Compliant?

The ELD mandate deadline is coming closer and closer. It is now just a couple of months away now, and fleets are running out of time to prepare for the upcoming ELD mandate.

We are trying our best to publish as many information as possible on our blog that could help truckers and fleet owners prepare for the new ELD rule.

According to statistics, there are still a large number of fleets that aren’t fully prepared for the compliance deadline. We believe that a lot of it is because of a lack of awareness and preparation.

After all, there are so many aspects of the ELD mandate that it can be quite hard to keep up with.

In today’s blog post, we are going to highlight one of the most important aspects of the upcoming ELD mandate.

Are all ELDs in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs 100% compliant?

According to an ex-FMCSA head, Annette Sandberg, they are not.

Let’s discuss it in a bit more detail.

In this post, we discuss:

  •   Are all ELDs in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs 100% compliant?
  •   If not, then what should truck drivers and trucking company owners should do? How should they approach buying an ELD solution that will guarantee compliance?
  •   What does Annette Sandberg, an ex-FMCSA regulator, has to say about all this?

Let’s start from the top.

Are All ELDs 100% Compliant?


Unfortunately, not all electronic logging devices that are currently listed in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs are 100% compliant.

As you know, the FMCSA uses a self-certification method. ELD providers can — after personally ensuring that their ELDs fulfill the criteria and standards by the FMCSA — can have their ELDs listed in there.

Although it is not the best method to vet different ELD products, it is the best we have right now.

However, the problem is that some ELD vendors who do not have compliant ELD solutions managed to get on the list and get their electronic logging devices self-certified.

Annette Sandberg, an ex-FMCSA head, during the 2017 FTR Transportation Conference, raised this concern. She said:

“As a former regulator, the biggest concern I have is the number of ELD vendors that are currently on the FMCSA list [of approved vendors] that probably should not be. Vendors on this list are supposed to have ELD systems that can be self-certified, which means it meets the criteria and can be added to the approved list.”

She actually realized this when she was called upon by a carrier with 3,000+ trucks. The carrier, after installing ELDs from a popular company, felt that “something was not right” with the e-logging solution.

When Annette visited the carrier and examined the ELD solution, she realized that the electronic logging devices — although in the FMCSA’s self-certified list — was not compliant. In fact, Annette said that the ELD system was not even minimally qualified for AOBRDs — which have been in the business for over 30 years — let alone the new ELDs.

She further added that:

“That represents a concern I have been having, with carriers out there buying devices and hoping they will be fine but later find out that there are problems.”

This raises an important question for carriers: what should truckers and carriers do now?

Fortunately, there are ways to find out if an ELD solution is going to make you 100% compliant or not.

We explain them below:

Start Your Research With the FMCSA’s List

But what’s the point of using the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs if it is not even 100% correct?

It is true that the self-certified list by FMCSA is not 100% accurate and cannot be blindly relied upon, but it is still the best resource we have to get going.

You see, recently during an address, the FMCSA representative, Danielle Smith — a transportation specialist in the FMCSA’s passenger carrier division — reminded law enforcement officers that only registered ELDs will matter.

This is what she said:

“It is not an ELD unless it is listed on our website. That’s going to be part of what you do during an inspection. You are going to verify that it is a registered ELD.”

It means that any ELD that is not registered and listed in the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs will be treated as noncompliant after December 18, 2017.

Although the FMCSA’s list isn’t the most accurate, it will help you filter out all the non-compliant ELD solutions that aren’t on the list. Use it to get a head start and prevent yourself from researching ELD systems that are not in the FMCSA’s list and, therefore, aren’t even worth bothering about.

Check the FMCSA’s ELD Compliance Criteria

The FMCSA has listed the standards and criteria that a compliant electronic logging device must follow.

Once you identify a couple of ELD solutions that you like, evaluate each of those electronic logging devices based on the rules, specifications, and standards set by the FMCSA.

The FMCSA has listed the following criteria that every ELD solution must, at least, fulfill in order to be fully compliant.

An ELD must, at least:

  •   “Provide separate ELD user accounts for non-drivers (administrators) and drivers.
  •   Have “integral synchronization” with the ECM to automatically record engine power status, vehicle motion status, and other important data required by the FMCSA.
  •   Automatically record all driving time and at regular intervals of 60 minutes.
  •   Must also record date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, and driver identification.
  •   Record location accuracy to a 10-mile radius when a vehicle is used for authorized personal use — also known as ‘personal conveyance’.
  •   Be synchronized with UTC (coordinated universal time).
  •   Retain data for the current 24-hour period.
  •   Retain data for the previous 7 consecutive days.
  •   Does not allow tampering — altering or erasing information — of the data originally recorded by the ELD.
  •   Require the driver to review unidentified driver records.
  •   Acknowledge the assignment of unidentified driving time or indicate that the record does not belong to the driver.
  •   Allow a driver to obtain a copy of his or her ELD records on demand — electronically or via a printout file.
  •   Support electronic data transfer via either telematic type (wireless web service or email) or local transfer type (USB 2.0 or Bluetooth).
  •   Display all required standardized data to authorized safety officials on demand.
  •   Require driver certification and annotation for any record edits made by anyone.
  •   Require certification of driver records after each 24-hour period.
  •   Has the ELD provider furnish user manual, instructions for record-keeping during ELD malfunctions, instructions for handling ELD malfunctions, and instructions for transferring ELD Hours of Service records to safety officials.
  •   Volume control or mute feature for any audio feature.”

Technical Features

ELDs are technical products, and the trucking industry is still learning about them.

However, there are some technical aspects that are confirmed to have an impact on the compliance status of the truck driver.

For example, engine-connected ELDs relay data to drivers’ mobile devices. Safety inspectors then use these mobile devices to view and verify the HOS/RODS information.

The medium through which ELDs transmit this data to drivers’ mobile devices is crucial.

Most of the ELD on the market, except a few, use a cellular network for the transmission of this data. However, the FMCSA has confirmed that it is a compliance risk.

What if a driver is driving in an area with spotty or no cellular coverage?

Due to a lack of cellular coverage, these devices won’t be able to sync data, rendering drivers noncompliant despite having compliant electronic logging devices.

Instead of a non-reliable cellular network, use ELDs that depend on a more reliable Bluetooth or USB connection.

As Bluetooth or USB connections do not depend on cellular networks, the data will always be synced — even if drivers are operating in an area with absolutely no cellular coverage.

These are some of the technical aspects that you will also have to evaluate before you buy an ELD to make yourself compliant after December 18, 2017.

Use ELDs Before December 18, 2017.

All of this, however, is only possible if you use ELDs before December 18, 2017.

This is one of the main reasons why so many fleets and truck drivers have already adopted electronic logging devices and trying them out before the compliance deadline.

At the moment, ELDs are not mandatory. So if they come across a problem, they know they have enough time to replace their devices with a more compliant solution. Drivers who start using ELDs only after December 18, 2017, won’t have that opportunity.

After the compliance deadline, they will only have 8 days to replace their noncompliant device. Panic would ensue in that case.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you start the ELD implementation process right now.

Know that you are already late. The ELD implementation process takes a lot of time — which you do not have at the moment.

Try different ELD products, request free demos, and see which ELD best fits your need.

Note: If an ELD provider does not offer a demo first, that’s a red flag. That ELD might not be fully compliant.

Also, don’t forget to use our free ELD price comparison and ELD features comparison charts to find the best, most cost-effective ELD solution on the market.

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