Need To Know

FMCSA's Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Rule

Scheduled to become effective on December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate will significantly impact federally-regulated carriers in both the commercial and passenger transportation (bus & motorcoach) and trucking industries until and beyond its final full compliance deadline of December 16, 2019.

To help understand the rule, who it affects, the timeline for implementation and the penalties for drivers and carriers found to be non-compliant, Lancer has prepared the following summary. We urge you to immediately begin your company's review and analysis of the rule and its requirements to avoid the consequences and penalties associated with non-compliance that will affect your drivers and potentially your USDOT rating.

FMCSA's Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate


The FAQs document published by the FMCSA (found on provides a good amount of details on the ELD mandate. Excerpts of general pertinence are reflected below. For more information, please refer to the list of additional resources at the end of this document.

Key Requirements:

Who must comply?

The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain 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.

Who is exempt?

Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs. Additionally, the drivers listed below are not required to use ELDs, but are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an AOBRD or with a logging software program when required:

What about rented or leased commercial motor vehicles?

Motor carriers or drivers that operate rented or leased commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are required to record hours of service with an ELD, unless the driver or commercial motor vehicle is exempt from the requirements of the ELD rule.

What is a "grandfathered" automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD)?

A "grandfathered" AOBRD is a device that a motor carrier installed and required its drivers to use before the electronic logging device (ELD) rule compliance date of December 18, 2017. The device must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15. A motor carrier may continue to use grandfathered AOBRDs only until December 16, 2019. After that, the AOBRDs must either be updated to the ELD technical specifications or removed from service and a new device installed that meets the ELD specifications. See Section 395.15 (a) of the ELD final rule.

Other AOBRD issues worth noting:

  • If your operation uses AOBRDs before December 18, 2017, you can transfer an AOBRD to a CMV as long as that vehicle replaces another (see FMCSA FAQs section).
  • If your operation adds a vehicle to its fleet without retiring one equipped with an AOBRD, you must install a device that meets ELD technical specifications.
  • An owner operator that operates with a grandfathered AORBD and is hired by a motor carrier after December 18, 2017 may continue to operate with its grandfathered AOBRD while employed by the motor carrier.
  • If a grandfathered AOBRD subsequently becomes inoperable, then that AOBRD must be replaced by an ELD.
  • You may not purchase and install a new AOBRD in a vehicle after December 18, 2017.

What is the penalty to a driver who is not in compliance?

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has existing criteria to place a driver out of service during a roadside inspection for a lack of Record of Duty status. It was amended in March, 2017 to include non-compliant ELDs and/or non-compliant usage of ELDs. Source:

What will happen to a carrier that is not in compliance?

Carriers not in compliance will rack up violations/fines and see its Hours of Service (HOS) BASIC percentile worsen. FMCSA safety investigations will likely result in acute violations and the carrier may end up seeing a negative impact on its safety rating and/or lose its operating authority.

ELD Vendor Options

With over 50 different ELD solutions currently in the marketplace, selecting a vendor can be a challenging process. This is complicated by the fact that the FMCSA does not certify which products will meet all the technical requirements of the ELD mandate. This is, in reality, a "self-certification" process. The FMCSA also does not have mechanisms in place for manufacturers to test to ensure that the data capture and output of these devices will be compliant with specifications. To help carriers with their selection, the FMCSA has posted a list of Registered ELDs and has made available a checklist of functions that an ELD solution must provide at a minimum (see



For further assistance regarding the ELD mandate, please contact us today!