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Enforcement Partners

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What Do I Need to Know?

The ELD rule is intended to make HOS compliance and enforcement easier. The phased approach for the ELD rule requires that enforcement partners understand:

  • Who must comply with (and who is exempt from) the ELD rule
  • Which HOS recording methods are permitted during each implementation phase – along with the specific regulations that apply to each
  • Specific processes for displaying and transferring ELD data

Drivers Subject to the ELD Rule

In general, the rule applies to interstate drivers of CMVs (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) who are currently required to keep Records of Duty Status (RODS). The following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required):

  • Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (transporting a vehicle for sale, lease, or repair)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000

Compliance Phases

Phase 1:  Awareness and Transition Phase (February 16, 2016 to December 18, 2017)

This is the two-year period following publication of the final ELD rule.

During this time, carriers and drivers may begin voluntarily using ELDs (beginning 60 days following the publication of the final rule, February 16, 2016).

Carriers and drivers subject to the rule can use any of the following for records of driving status (RODS):

  • Paper logs
  • Devices with logging software
  • Certified ELDs listed on the FMCSA ELD website

If a driver is using two different methods of recording HOS (paper, logging software, etc.), the driver must let the inspector know which method the driver is using for the official RODS. Inspectors may contact the motor carrier to confirm which method the driver should be using for official RODS, use the other method as a supporting document, and let the carrier know about any HOS violation or falsification.

During Phase I implementation, the main goal is to ensure safety along with HOS compliance, while being aware of the different types of technology voluntarily being used by the motor carrier industry.

The following table summarizes the different types of technology along with the RODS output during the voluntary Phase I of implementing the ELD Rule.


RODS Requirements during

Phase I

RODS Output during Phase I


49 CFR 395.3, 49 CFR 395.5, and 49 CFR 395.8.

Note:  The main office address in 49 CFR 395.8 (d)(7) is not required, and locations are designated as geolocations in the Detailed Log Data.

Display or printout required, per driver’s choice. Graph grid required.

(Optional: Fax or email may be provided.)


49 CFR 395.3, 49CFR 395.5, 49 CFR 395.15, and 49 CFR 395.8 (e) false RODS, 49 CFR 395.8 (k)(1) failing to preserve a driver’s RODS supporting documents for 6 months, and 49 CFR 395.8 (k)(2) retention of RODS for the previous 7 consecutive days.

Display required.  Allowed to have chart, electronic display, or printout.

(Optional: Fax or email may be provided.)

Devices with Logging Software Programs

49CFR 395.3, 49CFR 395.5, and 49 CFR 395.8 along with

“Hours of Service for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Regulatory Guidance Concerning Records of Duty Status Generated by Logging Software Programs”

Display and printout required per inspector’s request. Graph grid required.

For devices where RODS have been electronically signed, the driver may display the current and prior 7 consecutive days RODS (if required on those days) on the device’s screen at the time of the inspection. 

If an official requests a printout of the RODS, the driver must be given the opportunity to print the current and prior 7 days RODs at roadside.

For devices where RODS cannot be signed electronically, the driver must print the current and prior 7 consecutive days RODS (if required on those days) on the device’s screen at the time of the inspection.  The driver must be given the opportunity to print current day RODS at roadside.

(Optional:  Fax or email may be provided.)

It’s also important for safety officials to understand what the ELD will display, including the header, grid graph, and detailed log data.

When ELD RODS information is requested during an inspection in Phase I, the driver has the option of providing either the actual ELD display or a printout with the standardized ELD data set. 

Inspectors and investigators can readily review the standardized ELD information to determine if permissible HOS limits were exceeded and detect falsifications for enforcement purposes. The output from ELDs also provides information about the ELD system, such as system malfunctions and data diagnostics, that may be used to find data discrepancies and log falsifications. 

Phase 2: Phased-In Compliance Phase (December 18, 2017 to December 16, 2019)

This is the two-year period from the Compliance Date to the Full Compliance Phase (four years following final rule publication).

Carriers and drivers subject to the rule can use:

  • AOBRDS that were installed prior to December 18, 2017.
  • Certified, registered ELDs following rule publication December 16, 2015.

During the second phase, information technology software tools will be available to securely transmit ELD data information to FMCSA officials and law enforcement for enforcement and compliance purposes. The rule’s new supporting document requirements for drivers and motor carriers using either device will also begin during this phase, on the rule’s compliance date. 

Phase 3:  Full Compliance Phase (December 16, 2019)

After December 16, 2019 all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use self-certified, registered ELDs that comply with requirements of the ELD regulations.

What Do I Need to Do?

Take Advantage of FMCSA Training

FMCSA will be providing a variety of webinars, as well as classroom training. Check the training page for availability and schedules.

Take Appropriate Action During Inspections or Stops

  • Identify which HOS recording method the driver is using.
  • Verify that the HOS recording method is authorized during the specific ELD implementation phase.
  • Ensure that you understand what data displays are appropriate for each HOS recording method.
Updated: Wednesday, August 2, 2017
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