Everything You Need to Know About the ELD Rule


The electronic logging device (ELD) rule – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data (Source-FMCSA). For a more comprehensive look at the ELD Rule requirements, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s FAQ page. The ELD Rule 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.


Main Requirements


There are four main parts of the rule. There is the requirement of drivers to carry Hours of Service (HOS) supporting documents, technical specifications, the requirement to use ELDs, and driver harassment protections.


Main ELD Rule Requirements:

  • 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.


What is an Electronic Logging Device?


Electronic logging devices enable carriers and drivers to track Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. The new rule requires the use of an ELD to track HOS compliance, and it also stipulates the specific requirements for ELDs:


  • Connect to the truck’s engine to record if the truck is in motion
  • Be provider-certified that the device meets the proper specifications
  • Allow the driver to log in and select On-duty, Off-duty, or On-Duty Not Driving; drive segments must be automatically selected based on vehicle movement
  • Provide data in a format that’s standardized and can be transmitted to law enforcement in a number of prescribed ways, such as wireless web services, USB, or Bluetooth 2.0
  • Graphically display a Record of Duty Status, so a driver can quickly see hours in a day




The ELD Rule was published in its final form in December of 2015. From this date until December 18, 2017, carriers and drivers are in Phase 1 of the rule. This awareness and transition phase gives carries and drivers the chance to plan for, and begin voluntarily use of ELDs. During this time, carriers and drivers can use paper logs, logging software, AOBRDs, or self-certified, registered ELDs to maintain records of duty status (RODS).


After December 18, 2017, phase 2 (Phased-In Compliance) begins. Until December 16, 2019, carriers and drivers can use AOBRDS that were installed prior to December 18, 2017 as well as Self-Certified and registered ELDs with FMCSA.


Phase 3, the Full Compliance Phase, begins on December 16, 2019. After this date, all drivers and carriers that are subject to the rule must use ELDs that are registered with FMCSA.