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General Information about the ELD Rule

Q1. What are the key requirements of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule?
A1. The ELD rule:

  • Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

Q2. What is the mandate in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) for the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule?

A2. Section 32301(b) of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, enacted as part of MAP-21, (Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405, 786-788, July 6, 2012), mandates the ELD rule. It calls for the Secretary of Transportation to adopt regulations requiring ELD use in commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in interstate commerce, when operated by drivers who are required to keep records of duty status (RODS).

Q3. Who must comply with the electronic logging device (ELD) rule?

A3. The ELD applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers.

The ELD rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate, including:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

Q4. What electronic logging device (ELD) user documentation must be onboard a driver’s commercial motor vehicle?

A4. Beginning on December 18, 2017, a driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet onboard the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) containing the following items:

  1. A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
  2. An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official;
  3. An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
  4. A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.Prior to December 18, 2017, FMCSA recommends that drivers have the user’s manual, malfunction instruction sheet, and graph-grids.

Q5. Can the ELD information packet be in electronic form?

A5. Yes. The user’s manual, instruction sheet, and malfunction instruction sheet can be in electronic form. This is in accordance with the federal register titled “Regulatory Guidance Concerning Electronic Signatures and Documents” (76 FR 411).
Q6. Can an electronic logging device (ELD) be on a smartphone or other wireless device?

A6. Yes. An ELD can be on a smartphone or other wireless device if the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications.

Q7. Can a driver use a portable electronic logging device (ELD)?

A7. Yes. A driver may use a portable ELD. A portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation (CMV) and visible to the driver from a normal seated driving position. This information can be found in the ELD Rule section 395.22(g).

Q8. How long must a motor carrier retain electronic logging device (ELD) record of duty status (RODS) data?

A8. A motor carrier must retain ELD record of duty status (RODS) data and back-up data for six months.The back-up copy of ELD records must be maintained on a device separate from that where original data are stored. Additionally, a motor carrier must retain a driver’s ELD records in a manner that protects driver privacy.

Q9. What electronically transferred data from electronic logging devices (ELDs) will be retained by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other authorized safety officials?

A9. FMCSA will not retain any ELD data unless there is a violation.

Q10. What is the carrier’s responsibility in ensuring that they are using a registered device?

A10. The motor carrier is responsible for checking that their device is registered. This includes checking both the registration and revocation list periodically. The list of registered and revoked ELDs can be found on the following link:

In the event that an ELD is removed from the registration list, FMCSA will make efforts to notify the public and affected users. Motor carriers and drivers are encouraged to sign-up for ELD updates to receive notifications on when an ELD has been listed on the Revocation List.

Q11. How will the ELD display screen or printout reflect special driving categories; yard moves and personal conveyance?

A11. While not required, if the motor carrier configured the driver user account to authorize a special driving category, then the graph-grid will overlay periods using a different style line (such as dashed, dotted line, or shading) in accordance with section of the ELD Functional Specifications. The appropriate abbreviation must also be indicated on the graph-grid.

If the motor carrier does not configure the driver user account to authorize special driving categories, then the driver must annotate the beginning and end of the applicable special driving category.

Q12. If the vehicle registration for a commercial motor vehicle reflects a model year of 2000 or newer, but the vehicle was manufactured without an engine control module (ECM), is the carrier required to comply with the ELD rule?

A12. Yes, a motor carrier operating a vehicle with a manufactured model year of 2000 and newer and without an ECM is subject to the ELD rule. If the currently installed engine does not support an ECM and is unable to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters, then the operator must use an ELD that does not rely on ECM connectivity, but nevertheless meets the accuracy requirements of the final rule. See Appendix A to Subpart B of Part 395 sections 4.2 and 4.3.1 of the ELD rule for accuracy requirements.
Q13. How are motor carriers required to present records of duty status (RODS) from December 11-17, 2017? Will drivers be required to present their records of duty status on electronic logging devices (ELDs)?

A13. No, drivers will not be required to present RODS on ELDs from December 11, 2017, to December 17, 2017. Drivers can present their previous 7 days of RODS through any of the following:

  • Paper records,
  • A printout from an electronic logging device,
  • A display from a device installed with logging software and electronic signature capabilities,
  • Having the records available by entering them into an ELD, or
  • Continued use of a grandfathered automatic on-board recording device.

Q14. How must a driver reflect their record of duty status for the previous 7 days during a roadside inspection, if he or she is employed by multiple motor carriers that are using ELDs?

A14. The driver can either, (1) print out their hours-of-service from the other motor carrier, (2) if operating with compatible devices the ELD data can be transferred between the motor carriers with the driver’s approval, or (3) manually add the hours of service while operating for that motor carrier into the current ELD using the editing and annotation functions of the ELD.

Q15. How must a driver who is starting to work for a new motor carrier present their prior 7 days’ records of duty status to the new carrier?

A15. Section 395.8(j)(2) provides that “(2) Motor carriers, when using a driver for the first time or intermittently, shall obtain from the driver a signed statement giving the total time on duty during the immediately preceding 7 days and the time at which the driver was last relieved from duty prior to beginning work for the motor carriers.” In the alternative, the driver may present copies of the prior 7 days’ records of duty status or a print-out of the prior 7 days from the prior carrier’s ELD system.

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