The ELD Mandate FAQs
Some Frequently Asked Questions About ELD Mandate
The ELD mandate is here to stay. It’s 2017, and fleets have less than a year to comply with the new
ELD rule.

We hear a lot of questions from drivers, fleet managers, and trucking companies about the
ELD mandate. So we decided to answer all of the most frequently asked questions.

To have a better understanding of how the ELD mandate works, let’s go through some of the
frequently asked questions about it.

The mandate includes two crucial deadlines that everyone in the trucking industry should remember.

December 18, 2017

Those who are not exempted to the mandate needs to be ELD compliant by this date. However, those who installed compliant AOBRDs at the time the final rule was enacted have until late 2019 to be ELD compliant.

December 16, 2019

Everyone in the trucking industry that isn’t part of the exemption needs to be ELD compliant on or before this date. This date is also commonly known as the “Grandfather clause”, and AOBRDs will no longer be accepted after December 16, 2019. Only ELDs will be accepted for compliance.

AOBRDs (Automatic On-Board Recording Devices)

AOBRDs are meant to track a driver’s duty status automatically and accurately. They are still part of the current FMCSA regulations. The term has been defined since the 1980’s.

EOBR (Electronic On-Board Recording Devices)

EOBRs are meant to replace AOBRDs. FMCSA used the new term in their 2010 Rule, which was then vacated in 2011.

ELD (Electronic Logging Device)

ELD is the most recent term used to describe the electronic devices used to track drivers’ RODS (Record of Duty Status) automatically. ELDs need to be certified by the Department of Transportation. Otherwise, users of the non-certified ELDs would still be considered as non-compliant even if they have the device installed in their trucks.

The ELD mandate is a federal mandate requiring commercial truck drivers and motor carriers to use DOT-certified electronic logging devices to track their HOS (Hours of Service) automatically and accurately.

The mandate came about from the Congress enacting the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill (MAP-21). On that same bill, one of the provisions included by the Congress required the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create a regulation mandating the truck drivers who are required to record their RODS to use ELDs.

  • Vehicles or trucks that were manufactured before the year 2000.
  • Drivers who track their time using paper RODS but do not exceed more than eight days out of a thirty-day period.
  • Towaway trucks or drivers who do operations where the vehicle being driven is the actual commodity being delivered.

In September of this year (2016) the OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) challenged the ELD mandate by presenting their arguments to the SCCA (Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals).

Two of the biggest arguments pointed out by the OOIDA is how the mandate doesn’t meet the standards set by the Congress, and how it violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights.

SCCA disagreed with all the points presented by the OOIDA. In other words, the petition to terminate the ELD mandate was dismissed by the court.

Several years ago, truckers would have to spend over $2000 for them to be able to use a single device and enjoy its benefits.

With the way things are right now, trucking companies can get the device for way lesser. Some providers charge as little as $200 – $250 per year (inclusive of the hardware, training, and installation of the device) while providing high-quality service.

Other providers, however, are a bit more pricey. They charge 4 – 5 times more and they also use lock-in contracts (usually a period of 3 – 5 years). What’s more, they charge extra for the installation, the device, and training.

That being said, while ELDs have become more affordable nowadays, you still need to do your due diligence to find the best ELD provider that will give you a reasonable price with the best features.

You should use our ELD price comparison tool to find the exact cost of ELD compliance.

Yes.

Most ELDs can monitor the vehicle for fault codes because they are connected to the vehicle’s diagnostic port.

The ELDs can even notify the driver and fleet managers in real-time the moment fault codes are detected. This means that the ELD device can help drivers do some of the maintenance checkups even without them having to do the checkups physically.

ELDs can track boatloads of data once installed in commercial trucks. That is why they are of great help to the trucking companies, because they can use the data to gain insights into the vehicle and drivers’ performance (among many other things).

These are some different types of data that trucking companies can obtain through ELDs.

  • The drivers’ Hours of Service.
  • The vehicle’s location.
  • The vehicle’s movement.
  • The vehicle’s total running time.
  • The truck’s fault codes.
  • The amount of fuel consumed.
  • The driver’s idle time.

Here’s how trucking companies and their drivers can benefit from using ELDs.

Benefits for the trucking company:

  • Better CSA scores – Because ELDs can help drivers prevent HOS violations (among other violations) they get better CSA scores.
  • Get more business opportunities and clients – Some clients look into a trucking company’s CSA score before they decide to work with them. The assumption is, if the company has a good CSA score, then that means they are employing good business practices and their drivers have good driving habits.
  • In short, they are painless to work with.
  • Reduced fuel costs – Fleet managers can help drivers find the quickest, fastest, and safest route that will take them to their destination. It results in lesser fuel costs and a higher level of productivity.
  • Improved fleet management – ELDs have several features that can help dispatchers oversee the entire fleet. They can track a vehicle’s location in real-time, message the drivers directly through the logbook apps, and generate reports effortlessly.
  • Better insurance premiums – Because the ELD mandate will increase the safety of your fleet, you’ll have lesser insurance premiums since your fleet isn’t high risk (comparatively speaking).
  • It’s easier to recruit new drivers – When a trucking company has a good CSA score and a reputation of having very few road accidents, it tells truck drivers that the company is a good prospect to work with.

Benefits for the drivers:

  • The drivers can breeze through roadside inspections – The inspectors won’t have to do much digging when truck drivers have ELDs installed in their trucks. Drivers can show roadside inspectors their electronic logbook app which pretty much contains most of the details those inspectors are looking for.

    What’s more, since the reports that drivers will share are accurate, inspectors won’t have to ask a lot of questions before clearing the drivers.

  • Avoid HOS violations – Because ELDs will notify drivers if they have an up-and-coming violation, truck drivers are able to easily avoid them.
  • Focus on driving – Drivers won’t have to hassle themselves with paper logs since ELDs track vehicle’s movements and HOS violations automatically.
  • Improved driver performance – Because ELDs can monitor a truck’s movement (e.g. when it makes sharp turns, excessive accelerations, or sudden stops), fleet managers can give truck drivers proper feedbacks on their driving habits. This can help drivers improve their driving skills.
  • Better driver safety – ELDs can help keep drivers from working while fatigued, as it will notify them when they’re approaching an HOS violation. This can keep drivers from experiencing a crash due to them driving while drowsy.
  • Drivers won’t miss their breaks – Through ELDs’ automatic log auditing, fleet managers would see if drivers missed their breaks. They can then remind the truck drivers about it through sending them a direct message via the logbook app.
  • Get immediate help – Since ELDs enable fleet managers to track a vehicle’s’ exact location, drivers can get immediate help when they ask for it.
  • Lesser calls from dispatch – Dispatch won’t have to keep on calling truck drivers for their location, ETA, or their available hours since they can view these details directly within their web-based ELD dashboard.

These are just some of the benefits of using ELDs. Depending on which ELD provider you’ll get your device from, you can enjoy several other functionalities that your fleet managers and drivers can use.

No. ELDs are meant to track/record and transmit data. It doesn’t control vehicles.

The drivers still have full control over the truck.

Once ELDs are installed, you can expect positive changes to happen in your company.

Because of different features, you are bound to have better CSA scores, an improved fleet management system, lower fuel costs, lesser HOS violations, and more clients.

The benefits that trucking companies can get from using ELDs are remarkably significant that they can easily outweigh the cost of acquiring the device, and the initial training that the company would need to understand better how to use the new tool.

The work of commercial truck drivers will become a lot simpler. With ELDs installed, they can pretty much focus on the most important part of their work — driving.

They won’t have to spend countless minutes filling in paper logs since ELDs can do that for them. Not only that, drivers can also avoid HOS violations and would also be alerted if a truck has serious maintenance issues, e.g., tire problems.