Everything you need to know about the ELD mandate

Whether you own a transportation company or drive for one, you’re probably familiar with a number of federal regulations and requirements. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to run your business or perform your duties efficiently – or legally.

In recent years, you’ve probably heard about the “ELD mandate” and how it relates to the hours drivers are allowed to record while on the road. Today, let’s explore the details of the ELD mandate and how it applies to you and your business.

What is an ELD?

An electronic logging device, or ELD, is a device installed in a driver’s vehicle that replaces the traditional paper logbook drivers have used to record their record of duty status (RODS).

ELDs help drivers by removing the added headache of filling out paperwork and documenting their hours of service (HOS). Because they automatically track the status and any changes of status for a driver, they ensure that drivers can spend more time focused on what’s most important: driving their vehicle.

What is the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate is a federal rule that requires all commercial trucks have an ELD installed at all times. The ELD itself accurately monitors the behavior of a driver’s vehicle any time the engine is running to ensure proper recording of the driver’s hours of service (HOS).

The ELD mandate – established in 2016 and effective in 2017 – requires all motor carriers, owner-operators, and drivers responsible for maintaining Records of Duty Status (RODS) to follow these rules:

  1. Any driver tracking HOS and RODS must use an ELD to do so.
  2. Any ELD device used must be registered and certified through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  3. Both drivers and carriers must keep specific documents pertaining to ELDs on file for their records.
  4. Drivers have recourse in case they are harassed based on data related to their ELD or other connected devices.

Adjustments to the ELD mandate

Legislators are continually fine-tuning the requirements of the ELD mandate to better serve drivers and carriers alike. As of September 2020, the FMCSA changed certain aspects of the ELD mandate to reflect new HOS requirements for drivers which include:

  1. Thirty-minute breaks can be satisfied either on- or off-duty.
  2. The sleeper-berth rule can be applied to two separate periods adding to a total of ten hours. They do not count toward a driver’s fourteen-hour shift.
  3. The maximum window of time a driver is permitted can be extended through the adverse driving conditions exception.
  4. Maximum distances for short-haul trips have been extended to 150 air miles. On-duty periods for these short-haul trips have been expanded to fourteen hours as well.

Who does the ELD mandate apply to?

The vast majority of US commercial vehicles must have ELDs installed to perform transportation duties. However, certain vehicle classes are exempt from using an ELD, which include:

  • Short-haul drivers traveling within a 100-air-mile radius.
  • Drivers who use RODS no more than 8 days out of a 30-day period.
  • Driveaway-towaway operators.
  • Drivers with vehicles older than the year 2000. These drivers are allowed to still use paper logs.

Consequences of breaking the ELD mandate rules include hefty fines (as high as tens of thousands of dollars) along with their violations being registered on their carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores.

Want to learn more about transportation industry regulations, ways to improve efficiency in your fleet, and how you can grow your business to be more profitable and successful in the long term? Explore the Optym blog or contact a member of the Optym team today for more actionable information!

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