Electronic Logging Device 1

Electronic Logging Device: The Ultimate FAQ Guide  

Let’s look at some fundamental aspects of electronic logging device.

So, if you want to learn more about this device, read this guide.

What is ELD (Electronic Logging Device)?

This is an electronic device used to record and capture driving time and hours of service (HOS) and engine activity. It is majorly used in commercial motor vehicles (CMV) such as trucks and buses.

It updates drivers and dispatchers with their driving status in real time.

Electronic Logging Device

Electronic Logging Device

What are Electronic Logging Devices used for?

Record hours of service that a driver has clocked in a day especially long distance drivers. It also records the number of hours they are on and off duty per week.

This is important to ensure that drivers do not drive long hours without rest, thus ensuring road safety.

It is integrated to vehicle’s engine to capture and record its activities such as ignition status, speed, miles covered. This is helpful when planning preventive maintenance service.

A part of it can be integrated to a GPS system to assist with vehicle tracking in fleet management.

Who needs an Electronic Logging Device?

Commercial fleet such as buses and trucks which travel long distances are required to have ELDs as part of compliance.

This is because the hours of services for commercial motor vehicles drivers is regulated by FMCSA.

What are the Benefits of ELDs?

It is mandatory for CMV to install ELD and record their driving time and hours of service for the drivers.

This is because HOS is stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Electronic logging device is capable of recording various information which is vital in fleet management and planning, compliance and efficiency.

Below are some of the uses for the electronic logging device:


ELD comes with in-built gyroscope and accelerometer which record driver’s driving style such as harsh braking, over speeding, sudden turning, etc.

This data can be used to train the driver to practice safe driving.

The HOS data is used to ensure drivers get adequate rest for their trips to prevent fatigue thus saving lives.

Also, the location data history can help exonerate innocent driver from false claims.


The federal government regulates the HOS commercial vehicle drivers are allowed per day and hours on and off duty per week.

It is therefore a requirement for CMV to have the device installed in their vehicle.

The ELD will then record the number of service hours and duty status per driver electronically as “e-log”.

This data is then used by the fleet manager to create duty Rota for their drivers as per the FMCSA mandate.

Record Management

Before electron logging device mandate took effect in 2017, most commercial motor vehicle used to record this information on paper.

As a result, critical information was missed, and in some instances overlooked due to large paperwork record.

With the adoption of ELD, fleet managers are able to capture, data real time and mitigate and foreseen risk.

Besides, the records are important for posterity purposes.

Vehicle Maintenance

Since ELD are mounted on the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) port, various engine activities are recorded.

Such activities include; mileage, speed, any faulty areas are also captured in the process.

This enabled fleet managers to plan for preventive maintenance in advance to prevent severe damage.

Additionally, the electronic driver’s inspection reports (DVIR) displayed on the driver’s smartphone increases efficiency and reduce amount of paperwork handled.

Dispatch and Routing

Because ELD is integrated to other systems such as GPS, dispatch officers have real-time vehicle visibility all times.

They are therefore able to plan for other vehicles without calling drivers to confirm location.


Data generated by the ELD can be used to create virtual boundary using the geofencing feature as a form of security.

This helps you improve security and prevent potential loss.

Geofencing alerts you whenever a vehicle leaves the boundary in real time thus enabling you to detect potential theft.

What is the ELD Mandate and What does it Cover?

ELD mandate is the rule by U.S. federal government which requires all commercial operated motor vehicles to use electronic logging devices.

The body that is mandated to oversee the implementation of this rule is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association.

Electronic logging device records and keeps vehicle operations data and driver’s activity such as hours of service per day.

Commercial truckers’ HOS is regulated by FMCSA which has the maximum number of hours a drive should be on the road.

It also captures the hours on duty without driving and the rest time during the trip.

This federal rule was first passed in 1937 and commercial vehicle drivers used paper logbooks to record their working hours.

Paper logbooks were later replaced by automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD).

FMCSA made the EDL law in February 16, 2016 with CMV mandatory compliance date being December 17, 2017.

Commercial vehicles with AOBRD had until December 16, 2019 to replace the AOBRD with ELD.

The purpose of having this rule in place was to regulate accidents rate that were caused due to fatigue.

Previously, fleet managers would use paper log to record the hours a driver worked however, this was not very accurate.

To curb data tampering and improve safety on the roads, ELD has been made mandatory for all commercial motor vehicles.

Failure to comply with this rule leads to penalties or pulling non-compliant vehicles out of service.

FMCSA regulates the electronic logging device that are used to ensure they are tamper free.

What is FMCSA in Relation to ELD Mandate?

FMCSA Approved Electronic Logging Device

 FMCSA Approved Electronic Logging Device

The federal motor carrier safety administration is a government agency that was established with the aim of averting CMV-related fatalities.

Majority of the accidents and injuries from commercial motor carriers were related to driver’s fatigue due to longer driving hours.

To prevent HOS inaccuracy and ensure drivers had adequate rest between trips, the FMCSA published the ELD mandate in 2015.

This rule required all commercial motor vehicle operators to install ELD to keep HOS and RODS data.

Failure to comply leads to fines or vehicle being barred from operations.

Why was the ELD Law Passed?

Before the adoption of the ELD law, commercial vehicle drivers would log in the number of service hours in writing.

This method was not accurate due to miscalculations or even employer’s pressure on drivers to work longer hours.

As a results, drivers were fatigued and accidents rates from commercial motor vehicles increased exponentially.

Such accidents drew the attention of media and public thus prompting regulators to find ways of reducing the accident rates.

As such, FMCSA, introduced the ELD law in order to control driving hours for commercial vehicle drivers and enhance safety.

This law required all CMV to install the device to record daily driving hours and weekly duty status for drivers.

How do you Know if you Need Electronic Logging Devices?

Electronic logging device mandate requires all commercial motor vehicles to install the device in order to be ELD compliant.

This is because commercial drivers who record RODs for up to 8 days in 30 days need to track them.

Commercial vehicles include; truckers, passenger transit buses, construction company vehicles, etc.

If you fall in the mentioned category then you need to comply with the EDL mandate.

Who Qualifies for E-log Exemptions?

Commercial motor vehicles must have electronic logging device installed and have both HOS and RODs record to be compliant.

However, this rule has exemptions for the following drivers or vehicle classes:

  1. Drivers with less than eight days of record on duty status within 30 days period.
  2. Vehicle manufactured before the year 2000 model.
  3. Drive-away or tow-away operators provided the driven vehicle is part of the shipment.
  4. Non-commercial driver license short-haul operators driving within 150 miles radius.

Although these drivers and vehicle classes are exempted from e-log, they are expected to have accurate logs.

This can be either in writing or AOBRD or any other log in software system available.

What are the FMSCA Regulations on Hours of Service for Truckers?

Hours of service is the maximum allowed hours for CMV driver to be on duty including driving and rest period.

The FMCSA provides HOS rules which commercial truckers must comply with to ensure they remain awake and alert while on duty.

The regulations are categorized as follows:

11-Hour Limit

This law allows truckers to drive for a maximum of 11 hours after having a 10 straight-hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit

A cargo carrying driver cannot drive beyond 14th continuous hours after coming on duty. The driver can only resume driving after taking a 10 consecutive hours off duty.

60/70-Hour Limit

This rule allows truckers to drive for a maximum of 60 or 70 hours in 7 or 8 consecutive days respectively.

The trucker is then required to take a 34 straight hours off duty before restarting a 7/8 consecutive on-duty days.

30 Minutes Break Requirement

A trucker must take at least 30 minutes break after 8 straight hours of uninterrupted driving.

The break should be non-driving, on or off duty or in a sleeper berth provided it adds up to 30 consecutive minutes.

Adverse Driving Conditions Exemptions

When long-haul commercial drivers encounter adverse weather conditions in their trip, an exemption is made to the 11and 14-hour limit rule.

A 2-hour extension period is added to the 11 and 14 maximum driving hours.

Short-Haul Exemption

This rule exempts drivers within a 150 miles radius in their normal work reporting location from the 14-hour limit.

They can extend their driving hours to 16 hours for 2 days within 7 consecutive on duty days.

Sleeper Berth Provision

This regulation requires drivers to spend 10 consecutive hours off duty and it can be split into two.

A 7 continuous hours in the sleeper berth and at least 2 hours can be outside sleeper berth but off duty.

The sleeper berth pairing when used together must add up to the 10 consecutive hours off duty.

How does ELD Impact Shipments?

ELD may affect shipment in the following ways:

  • Overall capacity reduction on drayage and long haul FTL.
  • Reduced flexibility and increased waiting hours at delivery points.
  • Added charges such as lay over fee due to increased driver waiting time.
  • Increased rate for drayage and FTl.

Does ELD Affect Cartage and LTL Shipments?

No, both cartage and LTL are exempted from the EDL mandate since they do not fall within the EDL mandate requirement.

However, it may impact on rates and capacity for drayage and FTL due to the regulated hours of service.

How does an Electronic Logging Device Work?

How Electronic Logging Device Works

How Electronic Logging Device Works

Electronic logging device is installed on a vehicle through the onboard diagnostics port where it directly record engine activity.

The device automatically captures engine status when on or off, miles driven, fuel consumption, vehicle location, faulty codes, driving hours, etc.

The integrated GPS system, gyroscope and accelerometer are able to record exact location, harsh braking and speed data respectively.

Also, the information from the engine and GPS is sent to a server that converts it into duty status records.

This data is then relayed through cloud computing method to an ELD web or mobile application for viewing.

The information is transmitted in real-time hence data update happens continuously.

The ELD web or mobile application can be synchronized with the fleet management system for data analysis, reporting and planning.

What Data does an ELD Device Record?

Electronic logging devices are mainly installed in commercial fleet to record drivers’ daily HOS and weekly hours on and off duty.

This is in line with the federal motor carrier safety administration’s mandate on hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers.

The device also records other important data information that can be utilized in various ways. ELD are also referred to as “telematics” devices because of their ability to transmit long distance computerized information.

They come with in-built GPS tracking, accelerometer and gyroscopes thus can record the following data:

  • Driving time, number of hours of services per day for drivers and record duty status (ROD).
  • Driver identification and user authentication
  • Date and time
  • The global positioning system (GPS) that comes embedded in the device gives real-time vehicle location.
  • Engine speed and load data is displayed since the device is plugged on the vehicle OBD.
  • Fuel efficiency, mileage and idling
  • Diagnostics and fault codes
  • Harsh braking or collision for safety monitoring.

When do ELDs record Information Data?

When the vehicle is moving at a speed of five miles per hour, the ELD picks the driving status.

As the speed increase beyond the threshold, it moves to in-motion status.

ELD records a stop status when the speed drops to zero miles per hour for three consecutive seconds.

ELD record information from driving to on-duty and not driving status, when the vehicle is not in motion for five minutes.

A status change pops ups to prompt the driver to enter the correct status.

If this does not happen within one minute, the device automatically updates to ‘on-duty not driving’ status.

Is an Electronic Logging Device Supposed to Record Data about Vehicle Performance?

ELD are installed to collect HOS data in compliance with the FMCSA HOS regulation.

Do the Specifications in the ELD Mandate include Requirements to Control the Vehicle?

ELD mandate only requires record of information that relate to driver’s record of duty status.

How Accurate is the Location Information for Commercial Trucks as recorded by ELDs?

When driving on duty, location accuracy is approximately within a radius of 1 mile.

When operating the CMV for personal use, the accuracy is within 10-miles radius.

How does an ELD Device Transmit Data?

ELD devices are telematics and utilize cloud computing technique thus can use different ways in their data transmission.

Commonly used transmission methods is via cellular data or Bluetooth pairing between the ELD device and the driver’s mobile application.

Alternatively, some ELD have in-built WIFI hotspots that provide connectivity between ELD and driver’s mobile app.

The Wi-Fi hotspot also enables drivers to stay connected and able to receive electronic work orders and access emails, while on transit.

What is the DOT in relation to Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?

Department of Transportation (DOT) is the federal government body in charge of transport safety, accessibility and efficiency in the U.S.

DOT through the motor carrier safety regulations act provides safety measures for the commercial motor vehicles operators.

These includes roadside inspections and annual safety audits to identify non-compliant CMV fleet.

The inspections are performed by state police officer or a certified DOT personnel.

How do you Transfer ELD Data to the DOT during a Roadside Inspection?

Roadside inspection are a mandate of the DOT to ensure CMV drivers are compliant with the hours of service.

These inspections are random and require the commercial driver to provide ELD data for the past seven days.

Whenever a commercial vehicle is stopped for ROD review from ELD, the driver should be able to transfer the data.

The transfer can be through a USB cable or Bluetooth pairing or the two approved ways; wireless web services or email.

  • Wireless web services: send the ELD data to the DOT through a secure server. This is the recommended method of data transmission for roadside inspection.
  • Email: sends ELD data to DOT via encrypted email message. However, email is unreliable and not commonly used.

What is the difference between ELD (Electronic Logging Device) and AOBRD (Automatic Onboard Recording Devices)?

Automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) is an electronic device regulated by the AOBRD 1988 rule which replaced the paper logbook.

AOBRD was thereafter replaced by the electronic logging device in December 2019 when the ELD rule took effect.

Both devices are capable of capturing and recording driver’s hours of service and engine activity, however, ELD has superior features.

The major contrast between AOBRD and ELD include:

  1. Both devices can record information on engine hours, vehicle location, date and time, driving mileage and driver duty status.

However, AOBRD is not able to capture vehicle status whether on or off, engine diagnostics, thus making it less reliable.

  1. While ELD is able to record vehicles speed for 5 miles per hour and above, AOBRD must be set up.
  2. ELD and AOBRD can show when and who made edits to the data. However, ELD provide more history of the edit that is required by DOT.
  3. AOBRD cannot be synchronized to the universal coordinated time (UTC)

Installed ELD

Installed ELD

What does Engine Synchronization mean for purposes of ELD Compliance?

Engine synchronization is the integration of the ELD device with the CMV vehicle to monitor and record engine activities.

It is therefore able to records engine power status, vehicle movement status, miles covered and engine hours.

As a Carrier, how do I make sure that an Electronic Logging Device is Compliant?

Before purchasing an ELD device from a vendor, check if its manufacturer is registered and listed in the FMCSA website.

FMCSA maintains a record of approved ELD products whose manufacturer meet the required minimum operational specification.

How much will it Cost for my Fleet to be ELD Compliant?

The cost of installing an ELD depends on the provider depending on parts of a subscription and components that you own.

For instance, a provider may avail engine connectivity part and software for subscription while you buy your own device (BYOD).

Other providers will give you the driver’s device at one off cost or higher subscription rate.

The device provided in this case is normally less flexible thus allowing electronic logging only.

In both cases, ensure you install the right ELD solution to be fully compliant.

How can I get Drivers on board with ELD Compliance?

ELD compliance is mandatory for commercial motor vehicle operators that need to track drivers’ RODs for 8 days and beyond.

In order to get your drivers to adopt and be ELD compliant, you need to;

  1. Select a FMCSA compliant ELD device provider with an easy to use solution.

The provider should be able to understand the ELD regulation and provide aftersales support in integration with other software.

  1. Help the drivers understand the ELD device and how it will help them be ELD compliant. Allow them time to interact with it, make edit and enter information needed and give feedback on the same.

This will ensure that they understand the ELD functionality and use it effectively.

  1. Involve the drivers in the ELD roll out plan and explain to them the need to be ELD compliant. This will make them feel part of the business success.
  2. Include employee coaching program for continuous learning and improvement on ELD use.

Share reports from the ELD data and address any arising problems before it escalates out of control. Commend ELD compliant drivers as well to motivate them further.

A 100% compliance can be achieved if drivers, employees and employers collaborate to ensure effective and correct use of ELD devices.

Employers should have open communication with their drivers, encourage feedback on policies and sharing of ideas.

What happens if I am not in Compliance with ELD Mandate?

Failure to comply with the ELD mandate can land both the vehicle owner and the driver in trouble such as:

Hefty Fines

The driver, the vehicle or even the business can be fined heavily for flaunting ELD rule. This affects the business cash flow negatively.

Loss of Employee

When a driver is found violating traffic rules by speeding or aggressive driving, his license maybe revoked by the relevant authorities.

This will impact on the business negatively through loss of a skilled driver.

Increased Insurance Premiums

Insurance firms will see your fleet as a liability due to increased fines over non-compliance.

As a result, they will increase your fleet premium to cover the cover the risk of insure your fleet.

Being ELD compliant will enable you avoid such occurrences and save you time and money.

Do ELDs have a Feature to warn Drivers about approaching HOS (Hours of Service) limits?

Yes, the FMCSA permits the devices to have that feature however, it does not require it to signal drivers when approaching HOS.

How much is Electronic Logging Devices Price?

The price of an ELD depend on the vendor and the number of trucks to be equipped with the device.

Initially, an average cost of ELD was USD 2,500 per truck, this has significantly reduced with time to about USD 500.

This price reduction has been affected by various factors such as:

  • Reduced hardware cost: Generally, the hardware price has been lowered over the year’s thus reducing overall ELD price.

Also, certain vendors offer discounted rates for large fleet thus lowering the price further.

  • Device compatibility: Technology advancement has enabled compatibility across various smartphones.

This allows the fleet owner to use (BYOD) rather than vendor’s devices which are less flexible and more expensive.

  • Installation: Some vendors charge installation fee per truck, this can be expensive for large fleet owners.

Ensure you get clear communication on installation charges before committing to a vendor.

Alternatively, you can select ELD solution that are easy to install and can be done by anyone.

  • Training: When ELD sourcing, go for easy to use solutions to reduce the cost of training users.
  • Add-ons fee: Different vendors charge differently for extra features such as fault detectors and data plans. All inclusive subscription fee is cheaper than separate fees per feature.

How do I Find the Best ELD (Electronic Logging Device)?

Not all electronic logging devices have the same features, hence there are a variety of options in the market.

For example, some ELD come with in-built hardware GPS tracking device while others give minimal location details.

Thus, it will not give real time data on location.

ELD Hardware

ELD Hardware

Other devices come with driver’s device for use hence require you to pay more.

Consequently, other ELD providers charge extra for added software features, like alerts, diagnostics schedules, eDVIR, etc.

In all these, the best ELD should be the one that is:

  • Easy for drivers and fleet managers to use.
  • Easy to install
  • Reliable
  • Offer add-on feature free of charge

What are the Common Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding the use ELDs?

Some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding ELDs is that they are too expensive and may lead to business closure.

The truth is that the price of ELD has dipped over the years with the advancement in technology.

Another misconception is that the devices have led to the loss of a driving hours due to the strict HOS regulations.

In reality, the majority of CMV operators have adopted the system because of its efficiency.

Many attest to the fact that they are able to log accurate RODs, unlike the previous paper logs which were inaccurate.

Additionally, it has reduced paperwork and saved on time spent writing and calculating hours of service.

Now it’s your turn and we would like to hear from you.

If you have any question about ELD or freight forwarding services from China – contact BanSar now.

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