ELD Resource Center

A convenient and reliable information hub for all things ELD.

Latest News

Major changes and exceptions to the ELD rules have been implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic and the passage of the final Hours of Service regulations. We have compiled a list of helpful articles and links that outline how these new rules affect your drivers and your operation.
Final HOS Rules Loosen Regulations Without Impacting Safety
Major changes are included in the final rules for HOS regulations just released by the FMCSA. A breakdown of the changes, how they affect your operation, and what we are doing to prepare customers.
Read More
Forward Thinking Systems Remains Operational During COVID-19 Pandemic
Forward Thinking Systems is considered an essential business that serves government agencies and critical infrastructure workers, so we will remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read More
FMCSA Offers Temporary Hours of Service Relief in Wake of Coronavirus
The FMCSA is offering temporary hours of service relief to help during the national emergency caused by COVID-19. We share some FMCSA links that outline exemption details and include helpful information for drivers.
Read More

FMCSA ELD Information Line

Address
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
Email
ELD@dot.gov
Phone
1-800-832-5660

FMCSA’s Updated Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has updated their Hours of Service (HOS) regulations after receiving thousands of comments from drivers and operators about needing more scheduling flexibility. The updated regulations provide more leniency while still enforcing important safety protocols.

What Changes Were Made to Make the New HOS Regulations?

The new HOS regulations included four key changes to add more flexibility to a driver’s schedule. These changes include:
  • Improved flexibility around the 30-minute break rule
  • Modifications to the sleeper-berth requirement
  • Alterations to the adverse driving conditions exception and definition
  • Lengthened the short-haul exception available to specific commercial drivers

The 30-Minute Break Rule

Changes to the 30-minute break rule come in two parts. First, drivers don’t have to take a break until they have been driving for eight hours, instead of 8 hours after they first clocked in. 

The second change allows drivers to take their 30-minute break during any other non-driving time. This includes on-duty time, off-duty time, and sleeper-berth time. This change lets drivers adopt more flexibility in their schedules without sacrificing safety and risking driving fatigue.

The Sleeper-Berth Requirement

Instead of requiring one 10-hour, off-duty period in the sleeper-berth, drivers can now split that into two different periods of time. One period must be at least two hours long and does not need to be spent in the sleeper-berth. 

The other period must be at least seven consecutive hours and must be spent in the sleeper-berth. These changes give more control to the drivers by allowing them to decide when they need a break. It also helps them break up their driving time while still giving drivers ample time to rest.

The Adverse Driving Conditions Exception and Definition Change

Changes to the adverse driving conditions exception also came in two parts. First, the FMCSA altered the definition of adverse driving conditions to allow the exception to apply based on the driver’s and dispatcher’s understanding of road conditions. 

The FMCSA also extended the maximum allowable driving time permitted for trucks and buses slowed down by adverse weather conditions by two hours. However, drivers still cannot drive for more than 14 hours straight.

The Short-Haul Exception

The FMCSA has extended the short-haul exception to apply to more circumstances. The final ruleset extends the maximum on-duty period for short-haul drivers from 12 hours to 14 hours. 

The radius that the short-haul exception applies to has also been expanded from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. This allows more shipments to be classified under the short-haul exception without impacting driver safety.

ELD FAQs and Best Practices

What is an ELD?

An ELD (Electronic Logging Device) is a piece of technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and provides more accurate hours-of-service (HOS) records. It tracks when the engine is on, when the commercial motor vehicle is moving, and how many miles have been driven. An ELD automatically switches to driving mode if the vehicle is going at least 5 mph and includes diagnostic indicators about the vehicle and the ELD itself.

All carriers who are not exempt must have ELDs installed with drivers and staff members trained on how to use them.

Do I need some sort of expensive, specialized device to stay compliant?

As a matter of fact, you don’t. Compliant ELD systems can run on smartphones or tablets as long as the device is mounted, and the driver can easily see it.

Make sure the ELD you’re considering is on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) list of registered ELDs. To comply with the rule, the ELD must:

  • Have separate accounts for commercial vehicle drivers and administrative ELD users.
  • Have “integral synchronization” with the engine control module that automatically records data like engine power status and vehicle motion status.
  • Automatically record all driving time, and record the date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, and commercial driver identification.
  • Record location data:
    • In 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is moving.
    • When the driver turns the vehicle on or off.
    • Whenever duty status changes.
    • During personal use or yard moves.
  • Record location within a one-mile radius when on-duty and driving.
  • Reduce location accuracy to a 10-mile radius when the commercial motor vehicle is being used for personal conveyance to help protect driver privacy.
  • Synchronize ELD time with UTC (coordinated universal time).
  • Save data for the current 24-hour period and the last seven consecutive days.
  • Prevent anyone from altering or erasing the original ELD logs.
  • Require commercial drivers to review unidentified driver records – and either accept the time assignment or say the records aren’t theirs.
  • Allow a driver to obtain a copy of their ELD records on demand – either by printing it out or electronically transferring it.
  • Support one of two options for electronic data transfer:
    • Telematic type: using wireless web services or email
    • Local transfer type: using USB2.0 or Bluetooth
  • Display all the standardized data required by the rule, easily shared with safety officials on demand using either a screen display or a printout that includes:
    • A daily header.
    • A graph grid showing any driving duty status changes.
      • A printed graph grid must be at least 6 inches by 1.5 inches.
    • Detailed daily log data.
  • Require driver certification and annotations (written explanations) for any edits made to ELD records by the driver or the carrier. A driver must approve any edits made to the records.
  • Require commercial drivers to certify their records at the end of every 24-hour period.
  • Include a user’s manual, instructions on how to handle malfunctions and keep records, as well as how to transfer ELD HOS records to safety officials. All these documents must be provided by the ELD provider.
  • Have a volume control or mute option for all the audio features.

ELDs aren’t required to track a commercial driver’s performance, and don’t have to track things like how fast they’re going or how hard they’re breaking. However, ELDs can be a part of a larger fleet management system that does track those sorts of things.

What documents do I need in my commercial motor vehicle to stay compliant?

As of December 18, 2017, any commercial driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet onboard that has:

  • A user’s manual outlining how to use the ELD.
  • An instruction sheet describing the ELD’s data transfer programs and step-by-step instructions outlining how to send records to safety officials.
  • An instruction sheet that explains how to report ELD malfunctions and properly keep alternative records until the problem is fixed.
  • Enough blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph grids to record duty status and other relevant information for at least 8 days.

We provide all of this on a simple cab card.

What types of supporting documents can be submitted to the FMCSA?

There are five types of supporting documents the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will accept:

  1. Documents showing where each trip starts and ends. Use things like schedules, bills of lading or itineraries.
  2. Dispatch or trip records.
  3. Expense receipts. Meals, lodging and fuel receipts count. Anything paid for when a commercial driver is on-duty and not driving.
  4. Communication records from a fleet management system.
  5. Records showing the driver has been paid. Submit documents like payroll records or settlement sheets.

And each supporting document must have the:

  • Driver’s name (or a carrier-assigned identification number) on the document or on another document that lets the carrier link the first document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can also be used if that number can be linked to the driver.
  • Date.
  • Location (including the name of the nearest city, town, or village).
  • Time.

How long do carriers need to retain ELD documents?

Carriers are required to keep the ELD records and a back-up copy of it on a separate device for 6 months. FTS will store these documents as long as a customer is with us, unless the customer requests a purge.

Drivers have to submit RODS (records of duty status) and all their supporting documents to the carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them.

Which supporting documents do carriers need to keep?

The carrier must keep the first and last documents for the day along with six others. If a driver submits fewer than eight documents, the carrier is required to keep all of them.

If a commercial driver has less than 8 documents that include all four of the necessary elements (name, date, location, and time), a document that has all the elements except “time” can be considered a supporting document.

Drivers using paper RODS (records of duty status) must keep toll receipts too, however they don’t count toward the eight-document cap. A reminder too that paper documents don’t need to be stored if they’ve been scanned and are available digitally.

Supporting documents can’t be limited to documents collected at the beginning and end of the workday. It’s an important part of enforcing the 60/70-hour rule. Supporting documents verify the proper duty statuses and help officials assess compliance.

How can you transfer data electronically using your ELD?

Commercial drivers should also be prepared to show safety officials the ELD's display or logs printed directly from the ELD.

Our ELD solutions utilize the telematic type, allowing drivers to easily transfer their logs to safety officials via web services and email. And managers are able to send logs to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by using the ELD Dashboard in IntelliHub®.

Are there certain supporting documents you can provide electronically?

Electronic mobile communications – which are any type of communication that was sent through a fleet management system - and payroll records can be sent in electronically.

While these aren’t something drivers generally have on them, dispatchers or managers can include them as part of a larger record. Anything on an electronic mobile communication record is counted as one supporting document per business day.

What should I do if drivers use multiple, incompatible ELDs to record their RODS?

Carriers and commercial vehicle drivers are responsible for making sure that all RODS information can be reviewed by roadside safety officials. If the driver can’t share the data from one system to another, they will have to either print it out or manually enter it into the main ELD system.

When will an ELD automatically start to record a driving status?

ELDs automatically switch to driving mode once the vehicle is going at least 5 mph. The vehicle will register as stopped once the speed stays at zero mph for three seconds.

If the truck hasn’t been moving for five consecutive minutes when the driving duty status is on, the ELD prompts the driver to confirm driving status or enter the right one. If the driver doesn’t respond within a minute, the ELD switches duty status to on-duty not driving.

It’s important for drivers to log out of the ELD at the end of the day. If a driver forgets to do so and he moves his vehicle, the ELD will automatically log the vehicle's movement as on duty and driving, messing up his time cards.

Who must have an ELD account?

Drivers and owner-operators are required to have an account with their own identification number and password.

Carriers and owner-operators must have their own username and password for administrative duties, like setting up user accounts and managing driver logs.

Drivers should always make sure to log onto the ELD before the vehicle starts moving. If they don’t, the ELD will:

  • Automatically record any driving time and data under an unidentified driver profile.
  • Remind the driver to stop the vehicle and log into the ELD with an audible alert and pop-up on the screen.
  • Not allow the driver to do anything else on the device until they login.

Drivers should also review any unassigned driving time when logging in, and add their time to their own records, or add a note explaining that the unassigned hours aren’t theirs.

Who can make edits to ELD records?

Both drivers and carriers can edit an ELD record, but the drivers are the ones who have final say in approving changes. And some things are not editable by anyone, like shortening the duration of an auto driving status.

You can correct mistakes or add information, but if you edit a record, you must include a note explaining the reason for the edit. When a log is edited, the ELD stores the original log along with a record of who makes any corrections or edits and a timestamp of when those edits are made.

Who is exempt from the ELD rule?

In the United States, commercial drivers who use the short-haul exceptions can keep using timecards and aren’t required to keep RODS or use ELDs. Everyone else who keeps logs must comply with current ELD regulations.

You can install an ELD in any CMV, even if it's not required for that vehicle or your operation. If you do install one, it can be configured to show inspectors the ELD exception right on the device. You can also make a note on the logs that says you're exempt.

Carriers can also install ELDs in commercial motor vehicles made before 2000, but the ELD must comply with the ELD rule’s technical specifications.

What type of agricultural exemptions are there?

Congress added agricultural exemptions to the ELD rule that include:

  • Covered farm vehicles that weigh 26,000 lbs or less.
  • Covered farm vehicles weighing 26,001  lbs or more if the vehicle is operated in the state it’s registered in, or across state lines within a 150 air-mile radius of the farm or ranch.
  • Drivers who transport agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius of the farm or ranch. More info here.

Drivers going over state lines who have livestock or commercial bees onboard are exempt from the Hours of Service (HOS) 30-minute break requirement.

There are also certain times when drivers who aren’t currently transporting goods can log their drive time as personal conveyance, preventing that time from counting against their daily or weekly limits. For more details on the personal conveyance exemption, check out the FMCSA’s proposed guidelines.

What if a driver operates outside the air-mile radius and doesn’t qualify for a limited ELD exemption?

If a commercial driver goes outside the farm’s designated air-mile radius and doesn’t qualify for the limited ELD exemption, there’s two ways to record their Hours of Service (HOS) on an ELD:

Option 1:

A driver can operate within the 150-air mile radius without logging into the ELD, and then login once they reach the radius limit. The drive time that takes place within the radius will be labeled as unidentified driving time on the ELD.

The driver rejects the unidentified driving time, and the carrier submits a note on the log explaining that the driving time is covered under an agriculture HOS exemption.

Option 2:

The driver can log on as soon as they’re on duty, and just identify the time they drove within the 150-air mile radius with an annotation on the ELD, stating that the vehicle was operating under an agriculture HOS exemption.

When a driver is required to use an ELD, the safety official will transfer and review the ELD data.

Do drivers operating in Canada or Mexico need to use an ELD while driving through the U.S.?

Yes. Commercial vehicle drivers from Canada or Mexico driving through the U.S. must use an ELD.

How does the ELD rule affect personal conveyance?

The rules about personal conveyance haven’t changed, but the miles are now recorded.

If commercial motor vehicles are allowed to be used for personal reasons, it’s up to the carrier to make sure drivers are trained and clearly understand the personal conveyance policy.

Before the driver hits the road for personal reasons, they must select the personal conveyance status in their ELD to track the miles.

When driving under personal conveyance, the ELD’s position reporting accuracy drops from a 1-mile radius to a 10-mile radius to ensure the privacy of the driver's exact location.

Does the ELD rule apply to rentals?

If you’re required to have an ELD, it doesn’t matter which vehicle you’re driving, according to Joe DeLorenzo, head of enforcement and compliance at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

If you use a rented vehicle with an ELD system, make sure you have the current day and previous 7 days of logs on-hand for inspections. You can show the safety officer your phone or tablet if that's what you usually use for logging Hours of Service, or you can print out the records beforehand.

Keep in mind that under the ELD rule, commercial drivers are required to keep an ELD manual and data transfer instruction sheet on-hand. So make sure you have the proper documentation in the rental.

There is a limited exemption for carriers that use a rented CMV for eight days or less. In this scenario, you aren’t required to use an ELD, regardless of what the vehicle is being used for. Check out the Federal Register for more details about this exemption.

What do I need to do with unassigned driver logs?

Commercial drivers should review any unassigned driving time when they log into their ELDs. They’ll have to indicate whether the unassigned records belong to them or not.

Carriers should also review unassigned driving time and assign it to the right driver, or explain why the time isn’t assigned. Our ELD Dashboard makes this process simpler by suggesting drivers that might be responsible for unassigned logs.

Keep in mind, carriers are required to hold onto unidentified driving records for at least six months if no drivers accept them. 

Can co-drivers make entries when the vehicle is moving?

Yes, co-drivers can make entries and edits to their own records when they aren’t driving, even if the vehicle is moving. However, co-drivers can’t switch driving roles on the ELD while the vehicle is in motion.

What do I need to do during an inspection?

One of the biggest differences with the ELD rule is the ability for carriers and commercial vehicle drivers to transfer data to safety officials. FMCSA officials say it makes the process faster and more accurate than inspectors deciphering handwritten logbooks.

During an inspection, drivers must provide:

  • Drivers Hours of Service (HOS) for the last 7 or 8 days.
  • Supporting documents they have on hand.
  • Access to the unidentified driver profile using either the ELD display or a printout.

What happens if my ELD isn’t compliant?

If the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) decides that the ELD in your vehicle isn’t compliant, you will have 8 days to replace it. That also goes for ELDs that may otherwise be compliant but need to be repaired, replaced or serviced.

If the non-compliance turns out to be a widespread issue in your fleet, the FMCSA will work with you to establish a reasonable timeframe to replace all of your non-compliant devices.

If this recently happened to you, get in touch with us right away and we’ll help get you back up and running with compliant ELDs as quickly as possible.

Can I contest an ELD violation?

Yes, you can contest ELD violations through DataQs.

With DataQs, you can request a review of Federal and State data issued by the FMCSA that you think may be incomplete or incorrect. The system automatically forwards your Request for Data Review (RDR) to the right FMCSA officer to look over, giving you the chance to protect your SMS score.

What type of behavior would qualify as HOS harassment?

The FMCSA says a commercial driver can consider a carrier’s behavior “harassment” if a carrier knows, or should have known, its actions would force a driver to violate HOS (Hours of Service) rules. Carriers are prohibited from requiring drivers to drive when their ability to safely do so is impaired by things like fatigue or illness.

The ELD rule has provisions that prevent carriers from using the ELDs to harass drivers. ELDs are designed to only allow limited edits to the logs by both the driver and the carrier. And when changes are made to a log, the original, unedited log is always retained so the documents can be compared.

Drivers can file a written complaint with the FMCSA if they feel they are being harassed.

How do I file a harassment complaint?

If a carrier knows, or should have known, that its actions would force a commercial driver to violate Hours of Service (HOS) rules, the FMCSA considers it harassment.

Drivers can file a harassment complaint by contacting the National Consumer Complaint Database or the FMCSA Division Administrator in that state they're employed in.

Information that must be submitted in writing includes:

  • The driver’s name, address, and telephone number.
  • The name and address of the motor carrier the driver feels is harassing them.
  • The facts that prove the harassment allegations, including;
    • How the ELD factored into the harassment.
    • The date when the incident happened.
    • How the carrier’s actions violated either 49 CFR 392.3 or 49 CFR 395.
  • The driver’s signature.

Drivers have 90 days to file a complaint after the event takes place.

Drivers, please remember that you are protected under FMCSA’s coercion rule and the Department of Labor’s whistleblower law, which prohibits carriers from retaliating against you for filing a complaint.

About the MAP-21 Law and ELD Rule

The ELD rule is part of phase two of the MAP-21 law. President Obama signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141) into law on July 6, 2012 to provide more than $105 billion in funds to surface transportation programs.

The law created a streamlined program to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses by:

  • Raising the standards to get into the industry and operate in the United States.
  • Making sure companies and drivers meet the new standards by holding them accountable.
  • Forbidding high-risk drivers, vehicles and carriers from getting back on the road.

These measures built on previous highway, transit, bike and pedestrian policies enacted in 1991 by the Senior Bush administration.

The ELD rule is designed to make sure truckers comply with a federal hours-of-service rule that limits a driver’s workday. Drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour workday, and then must be off-duty for 10 hours.

The ELD rule:

  • Establishes standardized technical specifications to make sure ELDs are compliant.
  • Creates standard data displays and data transfer processes for easy sharing.
  • Helps prevent data from being tampered with and forbids harassing drivers.

The rule applies to carriers and drivers who must keep records of duty status (RODS). While there are some exemptions on who currently needs to use the ELDs, all drivers and carriers required to keep RODS must use a registered ELD by December 16, 2019.

Helpful Resources

We want to make sure you have all the answers you need to comply with the ELD rule.

There are lots of valuable ELD resources at your disposal; if you know where to look. We compiled a list of webinars and articles with more details about the ELD rule.

Take a look, and let us know if you have any questions you can’t find the answer to.

Webinars

Compliance Test Procedure Webinar - This webinar that explains how manufacturers perform the compliance test procedures.

After the ELD Mandate: Tips to Stay Compliant by HDT - A free, on-demand webinar focused on fleets that have instituted ELDs and the successes they have seen—as well as pitfalls they’ve avoided.

Articles

ELD Mandate Map by State by Overdrive - An easy-to-read map that outlines which states are holding off on writing any ELD tickets until April 1, 2018, and which states are leaving it up to the officer to decide.

What You Need to Know About ELD Mandate Enforcement by HDT - Joe DeLorenzo, the director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, talks about some of the most important enforcement aspects of that carriers and drivers need to know.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Map-21 Law by Transportation for America - The 10 most important details pulled from the 600-plus-page law about the national transportation program.

FMCSA Clarifies ELD Confusion for Horse Haulers by Transport Topics - More information on FMCSA guidelines about how ELDs apply to livestock hauling.

The most overlooked result of the ELD mandate by Freight Waves - The additional, and even unintended, benefits of the ELD rule and its effect on the industry.

ELD Mandate is Here - Now What by Fleet Owner - What to do if your ELD won’t function during an inspection, and some other helpful tips.

Dealing with Hours Violations Beyond Your Control in ELDs by Overdrive - Drive beyond your limits looking for a place to park? Get stuck in traffic? This article outlines what you can do when your ELD logs an unavoidable violation.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram