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ELD Mandate – Who, What, When, Why, How and What the Heck
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ELD Mandate – Who, What, When, Why, How and What the Heck

If you’re feeling unprepared for the December 17th 2017 ELD deadline, you’re not alone. Here’s a super simple look at – who, what, when, why, how, and what-the-heck – of the ELD mandate. Because, ready or not…here it comes!


So, you have ELD on your radar but you’re not sure the mandate applies to you. Most commercial drivers – over 3 million in fact – will be required to comply with the ruling minus these few exceptions:

  • You’re a short-haul driver who uses the time card exception – you’re not required to keep records of duty status, hours of service or use ELDs
  • You’re a driver who uses paper records of duty status for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period
  • You’re driving a vehicle made before the model year 2000 as evidenced by the [Vehicle Identification Number] VIN. If your vehicle model is dated 1999 or prior, you’re exempt
  • You’re driving the vehicle that IS the product being delivered – in other words, drive-away-tow-away operations


We hope you love alphabet soup as much as the FMCSA does because they’re dishing out quite a few terms like ELD, AOBRD, EOBR, and E-log, that you’ll want to know and understand.

  • AOBRD: “Automatic On-Board Recording Device” refers to an electric, electronic, electro-mechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording a driver’s duty status information as an alternative to paper logbooks and meets current FMCSA requirements
  • E-log: This is a general term to represent a device that’s integrally synchronized with the engine and automatically logs driving status. Ultimately, E-log or elog is synonymous with an AOBRD
  • EBOR: was the term used in the FMCSA rule 395.16 that was vacated. EOBR is a term that stands for “Electronic On-board Recorder” but has since been replaced by ELD
  • ELD: The basic translation is “Electronic Logging Device.” The ELD connects to the truck’s engine to track when your truck is in motion, logging driving-time [Hours of Service] HOS electronically


Drivers must use ELDs by December 18, 2017 unless they use AOBRDs that were installed before December 18, 2017. Then, by December 16, 2019, all drivers must use ELDs. Be sure to keep the following items in your vehicle as the FMCSA considers these mandatory:

  • ELD User’s Manual
  • Instruction sheet for transferring HOS records to safety officials
  • Instruction sheet on reporting ELD malfunctions & recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions
  • A supply of paper logs for at least 8 days, in case of ELD malfunction


There are really good benefits to using ELDs you may like to know. By FMCSA estimates, you can save more than 20 hours of time per year that you spend on completing and sending paper logs. Since time is money, you’ll be saving real dollars, plus gain more time to do what you want to do. The Final Rule requiring the use of ELDs, to quote the FMCSA directly, “will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.”

Here’s a quick bullet list of the top ELD advantages identified by industry groups:

  • Fast and easy driver logs
  • Less paperwork
  • Reduces errors and limits mistakes
  • Improves road safety
  • Saves time and money
  • Visibility into your drivers and equipment performance


As with any change, it takes time to get used to something new. Especially if you’ve only used paper logbooks, don’t wait to the last minute to select and purchase your ELD. From installing the device to training, you’ll need to know how to log in, record duty status changes, edit records, and respond to unassigned driving hours. You’ll want to have a plan in place to handle ELD malfunctions and you’ll also want to be prepared for transferring ELD data by email or Bluetooth to inspectors or law enforcement. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for all these ELD requirements and more.

What the heck

So, what the heck happens if you have a violation of the ELD? In the event of an ELD breakdown or glitch, you’re required to keep paper logs for up to eight days. After an eight day period, if stopped on or after December 18, 2017, you or your driver(s) will be immediately put out of service. So, be sure to have a process in place to get ELDs fixed within the 8-day window because December 18th will be here before you know it.

As far as penalties or fines are concerned, we found that the FMCSA will use formulas to calculate fines for violators. “The initial calculated fine per acute violation is $8,672, according to the FMCSA.”

Under the current AOBRD rules, however, you can go back to paper logs until you make the repairs or have the ELD replaced.

We’ve got your back

It’s so important for trucking business owners like yourself to have access to the funds you need to run your business effectively and comply with the many industry regulations including the ELD. That’s why we’re here! eCapital has the answers to your ELD questions and unlocks the money in your unpaid invoices so you can maintain and grow your business. Give us a buzz at 760.456.3786 and we’ll give you a free, no-obligation factoring quote.


Sources:,,, Overdrive, Heavy Duty Trucking, Work Truck Online, ABCO, FleetOwner


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