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What is ELD Mandate?

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What is ELD Mandate?

If you’re new to the trucking industry, you’ve probably heard of the ELD Mandate, but you may not know much about it. It became law in 2016, so fairly recently, and then specific compliance dates were scheduled after that. The last compliance date was at the end of 2019, so now nearly all commercial motor vehicles fall under the ELD Mandate in 2020.

So you’ve heard of it, you know when it was passed, but what actually is the ELD Mandate and what does that mean for you as a driver? Read on to find out all about what it is, why it was passed, and ELD Mandate exemptions that you should know about.

What is the ELD Mandate

The ELD Mandate is a regulation put in place by the US federal government that states that all operators of commercial motor vehicles are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record driver and vehicle data.

In regards to driver data, ELDs are designed to record the driver’s hours of service, which consist of driving hours, on-duty hours, and resting hours. A driver must record this for each trip.

Additionally, ELDs can also monitor and record items necessary for vehicle inspection as well as things related to driver safety (like speeding, for example).

Why was the ELD Mandate passed?

The short answer is safety. As you know, this profession requires long hours on the road. However, there have long been laws in place to ensure that drivers (and those on the road around them) are as safe as possible, so restricted hours of service were enacted to keep everyone safe.

The ELD Mandate is not changing that – it is simply changing the method for how drivers are required to log their hours. There is more room for error with paper logs (the ELDs predecessor), so ELDs not only improve accuracy but they also add a layer of accountability. 

A potentially unintended consequence of the ELD Mandate is that ELDs also have additional monitoring capabilities that do serve the purpose of keeping the driver safe. While functionality (like speed tracking) is not required through the mandate, it is a common device addition that drivers have differing opinions about. Ultimately, the purpose of ELDs and the mandate, though, is safety and not monitoring a driver’s every move.

Who does the ELD Mandate apply to? Who does it not apply to?

When looking into the ELD Mandate, it’s important to note that not all drivers must follow the requirements put in place by this law. While majority of drivers do fall into the category of needing to abide by this law, here are the main ELD Mandate exemptions:

  • Drivers driving a vehicle with an engine manufactured before 2000. Most vehicles manufactured before 2000 do not have the type of engine that will support using an ELD. Note that it’s the manufacture date of the engine not the vehicle that is considered.
  • Drivers who maintain RODS for 8 days or fewer during a 30 day period. These drivers can use paper logs and are not required to use an ELD.
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (where the vehicle being driven is not owned by the driver and is actually the item being delivered) are not required to use an ELD.

While it may seem like your privacy is being invaded by having to use an ELD, it’s good to remember that they are there to keep you safe. It’s not monitoring your every move, it’s keeping you and other drivers on the road safe.

Looking to find the right ELD for you and your driving needs? Check out the FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs to see which registered ELD makes the most sense for you. And if you still have questions about the mandate or devices, our truck driver training program is a great opportunity to learn everything you need to know about a career as a trucker.