ELD Mandate, Exemptions, & You


ELD Rule

Learn more about the mandatory Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.

Who doesn’t need to worry about using an ELD?

There are presently four exemptions to the ELD mandate:

  1. Drivers that used a paper log 8 days or fewer in the last 30 days. This applies to short-haul drivers that normally use a time record in place of a log, and intermittent and casual drivers who only have to use a paper log a few days a month. If the driver needs to log time for a ninth day in the last 30 days, the driver must use an ELD on the ninth day.
  2. Drivers that drive vehicles that are part of a driveaway/towaway shipment. These drivers can continue using paper logs.
  3. Drivers that drive or tow a recreational vehicle that is part of a driveaway/towaway shipment. These drivers can continue using paper logs.
  4. Drivers operating a vehicle older than model year 2000, based on the VIN on the registration. The model year is coded into the tenth digit of the VIN.
What if the vehicle is a glider kit and the donor vehicle was a pre-2000 vehicle?

It will depend on what VIN the state titling agency assigned to the vehicle. If the tenth digit indicates the vehicle is model year 2000 or newer, it will need an ELD, if the driver is required to use one.

What if a driver alternates between ELD vehicles and non-ELD vehicles?

The driver, when on the road and during a roadside inspection, will need a combination of records covering the current day and the previous seven days. They must have records from the electronic system for the days they were using the ELD, and paper logs for the days they were not using the ELD. The same is true in the back office; the company must have a record for each day (electronic records when the driver was using the ELD, and paper logs when the driver was using paper logs). Operationally, it’s a good idea to enter the data from the driver’s paper logs into the ELD, using the “edit” function, when the driver changes from paper to electronic, so the electronic system is accurate.

Who is responsible for making sure leased vehicles have an ELD?

It is the carrier’s responsibility since it’s their responsibility to comply with the hours-of-service regulation. It’s up to the carrier to work with the vehicle provider to make sure the vehicle has an ELD. There are two primary ways this is done. First, the equipment provider installs the ELD and ensures the data is provided to the carrier. Second, the equipment provider allows the carrier to install the ELD when taking control of the vehicle.

Are there any allowances in dealing with ELD accuracy?

Drivers must comply with limits and break requirements. However, enforcement will be allowed (not required) to write up a violation of less than 15 minutes as a “nominal” hours-of-service violation which has lesser consequences than violations written up as “regular” hours-of-service violations. This is entirely up to the officer and not required. If the officer sees this type of a violation occurring regularly, or feels the driver could have stopped at a safe location for the break and voluntarily went past the limit, the officer can still cite the violation as a regular violation rather than a nominal one.

Why are there two deadlines?

Dec. 18, 2017, is the date that drivers using paper logs must be ELD compliant (if one of the four exceptions above does not apply). The device can be an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD, devices placed into service prior to ELDs) or an ELD (the “next generation” of electronic logs). Also effective Dec. 18, 2017, any new ELD placed into service must be on FMCSA’s ELD Registry (AOBRDs can no longer be placed into service). The second deadline, Dec. 16, 2019, is the “sunset” date for AOBRDs that were placed into service before Dec. 18, 2017. By Dec. 16, 2019, any AOBRDs that are still in service must be updated to meet the ELD technical standards, or replaced if they cannot be updated.


This is the first of a three-part question and answer series, Truckstop.com Director of Industry Relations Susan Collins talks with Thomas E. Bray, lead transportation editor for J.J. Keller & Associates Inc., in Neenah, WI, concerning the ELD rule, which became mandatory in December 2017.

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