What Every Truck Driver Should Know About ELDs
By law, truck drivers are required to record how they spend their hours on the road and comply with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. In “historic” times, truck drivers used paper logbooks to record their hours. However, after the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, or the MAP-21, was passed in 2012, ELDs replaced the paper logbook.
What is an ELD?
An ELD is an electronic logging device used by truck drivers to electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). ELDs can communicate with a vehicle’s engine control unit (ECU) to receive near real-time GPS location information that is then recorded in a logging device or app that can be checked by DOT officials.
The ELD Mandate
The final version of the ELD Mandate was published in December 2015, with the first deadline set to December 2017. An extension until December 16, 2019 was passed for fleets using older automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs), electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and E-Logs.
ELDs must be used by:
- Truck drivers operating in the United States
- Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers
- Owner operators
Exemptions to the ELD Mandate include:
- Short haul drivers
- Drivers operating vehicles older than model year 2000
- Drivers that only keep logs for 8 days in a 30-day period
- Agricultural, farm and livestock vehicles
- Drive away/tow away operations in which the CMV being driven is the commodity being delivered
ELD Documentation Requirements
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers must have an ELD information packet onboard containing the following items:
- A user’s manual for the ELD
- “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;
- An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
- 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.
The Benefits of ELDs
ELDs help drivers accurately track their hours to avoid fines for driving over the daily allowance, making logging errors, and having out-of-date logs.