Looking into electronic logging devices, or ELDs, for your operation? Participants in a recent webinar got a chance to hear from a former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) about the devices and what they'll mean for carriers and drivers, starting with the relevant compliance deadlines.   

Anchoring those deadlines is the date the ELD rule was published: Dec. 16, 2015. With a few exceptions, ELDs must be in place two years from then in commercial motor vehicles in any case where paper driver logs are now required, explained Annette Sandberg, who's now CEO of TransSafe Consulting. She spoke during a Jan. 21 Fleet Owner webinar sponsored by Telogis.

"Any driver that has to fill out a paper log will have to have an electronic logging device," Sandberg said. "That's basically what the rule says."

Motor carriers that are using devices that comply with FMCSA's regulations for automatic onboard recording devices, or AOBRDs — a precursor to ELDs — get an extra two years through Dec. 16, 2019, to have logging devices compliant with the ELD rule in their trucks.


Click here to access the Fleet Owner webinar, "Time to Develop Your ELD Compliance Strategy... and Fast" — don't miss the audience Q&A session included in the second half.


On that note, Sandberg warned truckers not to wait until the deadline to get ELDs, pointing out that carriers she's worked with that adopted the older but similar AOBRDs found that doing so took longer than they expected. "If you wait till the last second, you're going to have a lot of struggles with your drivers and just getting these systems adopted," she contended.

Giving an overview of ELDs, Sandberg said the point of the devices is to capture all the movement of a commercial motor vehicle, including engine start-up and whenever the wheels are moving, to ensure drivers stay within federal hours of service (HOS) requirements. FMCSA determined that ELDs will help avoid a significant number of crashes, prevent injuries and save lives each year, according to Sandberg, and Congress mandated the technology for certain drivers.

"If you think about it, requiring that a driver stay within those federally mandated hours of service makes sense in that it's going to make sure drivers aren't driving fatigued and aren't exceeding those hours," she said.

ELDs don't capture all of a driver's time recorded under HOS regulations, however, and carriers will have to keep supporting documentation for a driver's on-duty, not-driving time, Sandberg noted (more on this later).