Electronic Logging Device: What is ELD & More

ELD Definition

An ELD, or electronic logging device, is required for all commercial vehicle drivers to automatically record both driving time and Hours of Service (HOS) records. The device can also capture engine data, location, mileage, speed, and even poor driving behaviors like harsh braking. These devices also provide drivers and dispatchers with real-time driver status to ensure fleet compliance, necessary inspections, and proper route planning.


How Does an ELD Work?

ELDs are plugged into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics, or OBD, port, allowing it to actively access data from the engine. These devices also include a GPS tracker that can determine the vehicle’s exact location at all times, as well as gyroscopes and accelerometers in some cases that can detect movement to offer data on any safety-related issues, like speeding or collisions. The information from the ELD can then be transmitted to the fleet manager on a continual basis or downloaded during a roadside inspection by a vehicle safety officer.


What is an ELD Instruction Sheet? <H2>

Every driver using an ELD must also ensure that there is an ELD information packet within the vehicle at all times. This packet must include:

  • An ELD user manual
  • An instruction sheet explaining how device transfers data, as well as directions on how to both generate and transfer the driver’s HOS records to vehicle safety officials
  • An instruction sheet explaining how to properly report ELD malfunctions and recordkeeping procedures to be used if the device malfunctions
  • Enough blank driver’s record of duty status forms to record the driver’s duty status and other pertinent information for at least eight days


ELD Mandates an ELD Standards

Since mid-December 2019, all motor carriers and drivers that in the past were required to keep records of duty service (RODS) under the HOS regulations must use ELDs. According to the rule, motor carriers are required to keep eight supporting documents for each 24-hour period that a driver is on duty. Drivers must submit RODS and all supporting documents to the motor carrier no longer than 13 days after receiving them. While drivers and certain motor carrier staff can make edits to an ELD record to correct mistakes or add missing information, they must be annotated with an explanation for the change.


ELD Compliance

ELD compliance is required of commercial vehicles that travel interstate and are currently required to keep RODS, as well as vehicles that weigh 10,001 pounds or more and vehicles that are transport hazardous material loads. The ELD device must also be compliant by being listed on the FMCSA’s ELD registry list, but it should also be third-party certified to ensure compliance.


Who Is Exempt from ELD?

There are exceptions to the ELD mandate, as certain drivers can still use paper RODs, including drivers that:

  • Keep RODS no more than eight days during any 30-day period
  • Transport vehicles for sale, lease, or repair, as long as the vehicle driven is part of the shipment or is a motorhome or recreational vehicle trailer
  • Drive vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.


How Much Does an ELD Cost?

On average, ELDs cost about $495, with an annual service charge ranging from $165-$832 per truck.


ELD Advantages

The ELD mandate was established to improve the safety of commercial drivers, as well as overall highway safety. This improvement in safety can also reduce on-road accidents and liability for fleets. From an administrative perspective, there is a lot less paperwork needed, as the records are digital and can be easily transferred. As ELDs also monitor idling, they can be used to identify drivers that are idling too long and wasting fuel. The devices can transfer diagnostic data from the vehicle, including fault codes, in real time, as well as offer improved location/asset tracking and reduce poor driving behaviors. The subsequent safety improvements reduce costs and improve overall CSA scores.


ELD Disadvantages

As noted above, ELDs can be expensive — not only the initial purchase and installation, but also the monthly charges related to the necessary wireless service. Drivers have also brought up privacy concerns since the devices track the vehicle and driver in real time. As the devices notify and require drivers to follow HOS rules in terms of when they must be off duty, there has been a national shortage of parking spaces for commercial vehicles. As a result, drivers are sometimes forced to park in dangerous locations or pay high prices for reserved parking spaces.


How Does LifeSaver Mobile Supplement ELDs?

An ELD is a great signal for if a fleet driver is on/off duty. In addition, an ELD is only relevant for long haul fleets. If a fleet is using ELD, LifeSaver Mobile can tap into ELD status of each driver to know when they are on/off duty to apply safety restrictions.