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The ELD Mandate 101: Addressing Common Questions and Comments

by Mario Tarradell | August 7, 2017

ELD Mandate

The ELD Mandate 101: Addressing Common Questions and Comments

The ELD mandate continues to create a stir within the trucking industry. The reality is the deadline is a few short months away for truckers and trucking companies to be compliant with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) electronic logging device rules.

There are many questions, misconceptions that are mistakenly understood as exemptions to the ELD mandate. We are here to respond to the most common thoughts so that the transition is super smooth. We have compiled some actual comments we’ve heard and answered them below with insight that will help build a better understanding of the ELD reality.

“They’ll delay the ruling later this year so that I don’t have to use one of those devices until next year.”

The ELD mandate is here to stay. The ELD deadline is set for December 18, 2017. A recent Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) lawsuit challenging the ELD mandate was denied by the Supreme Court. So, unless you fall under one of the exemptions listed below, you are ELD bound. The only other possibility is if you already have an AOBRD, which is considered the predecessor device to the ELD. If you do, you have until December 16, 2019 to upgrade to an ELD.

“I have less than 10 trucks, I don’t fall under the rule.”

There are only four exemptions to the ELD mandate. That means most truckers and trucking companies will need to comply with the new ELD ruling that takes effect Dec. 18, 2017. The size of your fleet doesn’t matter. The four exemptions are:

  • Trucks with model year 2000 engines or older
  • Towaway drivers
  • Drivers who don’t need to maintain RODS (records of duty status)
  • Drivers who maintain logs for less than 8 days in a 30-day cycle

For detailed explanations of each exemption, look at this blog post from Apex Capital, “Who Needs An ELD?”. If you have an AOBRD you’ve been given a two-year extension period to upgrade to an ELD. For more information on ELDs, download this ELD white paper from Apex.

“I am currently using a tablet with an ELD software app installed. Since I’m using it to keep track of my logs and DVIRs, I’m already compliant and don’t need a device.”

Truck drivers and trucking companies must use FMCSA compliant ELDs. With that in mind, there are two parts to the ELD process, one of which is the software program you will need to download and install on a smart device (phone, tablet, etc.). You’ll use that to verify truck and driver information such as duty status, drive time, breaks, sleep time, and important driving information just in case a safety inspection or DOT audit is performed. But there is no getting around the need to have the hardware of an ELD physically connected in the truck to monitor engine and driving activity. Having both FMCSA-registered hardware and software components will make you fully compliant. Simply using an ELD software app isn’t enough.

“I’ve not heard anything about ELDs out there, how do I get compliant?”

In late 2015 the FMCSA’s ruling on electronic logging devices to record hours of service gained approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The final version of that mandate was made public on Dec. 10, 2015. Check out this blog from Apex Capital for a bit of ELD history. The bottom line is that most truckers and trucking companies must have a FMCSA compliant ELD installed in their trucks by Dec. 18, 2017. Download this ELD white paper from Apex for a great introductory course on the ELD reality.

Can I just use my existing smartphone or tablet device?

Unfortunately, no. As explained above you must have an electronic logging device physically installed into your commercial vehicle. Once you have the ELD device, you can certainly use your smartphone or tablet to download the ELD software and monitor truck and driver information, especially hours of service. Make sure you shop for an ELD device that is on the FMCSA registered list.


Beat the ELD blues by cruising into your favorite truck stop and filling up with great fuel savings. Apply for a TransConnect Services Fuel Card today and enjoy discounts at TA, Petro, Ambest, Speedway, Sapp Bros., and many more. Call us today at 844-827-7705.

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Mario Tarradell

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