What is the ELD Rule?

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is a rule created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seeking to eliminate paper logs of driver hours and replace them with electronic logs. It was created in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DoT) and went into effect on December 18th, 2017. Although there is already a law in place which limits the hours of service a driver may have, it is ineffective. Many drivers, by their own will or coercion from fleet managers, end up working too many hours through falsified paper logs.


The fact that digital logs are harder to falsify than paper ones is the main reasoning behind the ELD rule. The overarching goal of this digital transition in logging is to reduce exhaustion-related fatalities. Additional benefits of the change include simplified logging, which is automatically recorded.

Requirements and Exemptions

According to the FMCSA website, a driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet on-board, containing a operator’s manual for the ELD, malfunction reporting requirements, a supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) and other related information. While the ELD rule applies to vast majority of commercial vehicle drivers, there are exceptions:

  • Short-haul drivers, though they must use RODS
  • Drivers who use RODS, but they can do so for no more than 8 days out of every 30-day period
  • Drive-away-tow-away operators
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000

Grandfather Clause

The ELD rule contains a provision allowing vehicles equipped with Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) two extra years grace period before adopting ELDs, ending on December, 16th, 2019. However, it is important to note that under this extension provision, the AOBRDs are required to fulfill the criteria set by FMCSA and such AOBRDs must have been installed by December 18th, 2017.

This concludes a brief overview of the ELD rule which we hope you found informative and useful. If you need tracking for your fleet, contact JAM SkyForce for a consultation today.


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