Electronic Logging Devices- A Closer Look

Electronic Logging Devices

Searching for a guide to learn everything about electronic logging devices? In this piece, discover how ELDs work and help fetch accurate information about driving time, engine speed, etc. The exact cost is explained inside!

Are you one of those fleet managers or drivers who are tirelessly scribbling in logbooks under dim lights to monitor and manage vehicles? And the entire event is just costing you so much time?

If so, then probably you haven’t heard about Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). The device lets you record the vehicle’s hours of service digitally. Thus, eliminating the headache of manual data entry, reducing the risk of human error, simplifying compliance, and ensuring an accurate clock-in-period of driving hours.

Well, this piece of writing is going to be all about electronic logging devices (ELD). With the history of this technological advancement, its working, various compliance related to ELDs, and more.

🔊 Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

An electronic logging device (ELD) is a piece of electronic hardware attached to a commercial motor vehicle to automatically record a driver’s hours of service (HOS) and other relevant data. ELDs synchronize with the vehicle’s engine to track driving time, engine hours, vehicle movements, and locational information.

ELDs are designed to replace traditional paper logbooks. They are mandated by regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions to ensure compliance with HOS regulations to promote road safety and prevent driver fatigue.

Now that you know the meaning of ELDs, let’s get to know how the journey of ELD started.

History of ELDs

The FMCSA implemented a phased-in timeline for ELD compliance to provide sufficient time for awareness and transition.

In March 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, which outlined amendments to its safety regulations to establish the ELD mandate. Comments regarding the proposed rulemaking were required to be submitted by May 2014.

✅On December 10, 2015, the FMCSA published the final ruling for the ELD mandate.

On December 18, 201, drivers using paper logs were asked to switch to ELDs.

By December 16, 2019, full compliance was required in adherence to the FMCSA guidelines. Any drivers or carriers who were still using AOBRDs had to transition to ELDs on this date.

Working of ELDs

Complete Working of ELD

Well, now that you know the meaning of electronic logging devices, it becomes vital to understand how ELDs generally work.

1)  Data Collection- As we know ELDs are hardware devices that are installed in commercial motor vehicles (CMVS). They are equipped with sensors that automatically collect data related to the vehicle’s engine and motion, such as engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location.

2) Driving Time Tracking- ELDs accurately track driving time by monitoring when the vehicle is in motion. They automatically record the start and end times of each driving session and any breaks or rest periods taken by the driver.

3) HOS Compliance- ELDs help drivers and fleet managers ensure compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations set by the Department of Transportation. These regulations dictate how long a driver can operate a commercial vehicle before taking mandatory rest breaks to prevent fatigue-related accidents.

4) Real-Time Monitoring- ELDs provide real-time monitoring of a driver’s activity, allowing fleet managers to track the location and status of their vehicles at any given time. This helps improve efficiency, safety, and productivity.

5) Data Transfer- ELDs are equipped with wireless communication capabilities to transmit data to enforcement officials during roadside inspections or audits. They can also transfer data to fleet management systems for analysis and reporting purposes.

Timeline of ELD

Who Must Use an ELD?

If an individual possesses a minimum of eight hours of duty status logins within 30 days, they will require an ELD. The FMCSA does allow ELD-exempt status for drivers who are not required to keep Record of Duty Status (RODS), as well as

  • Drivers who utilize RODS for a maximum of eight days within a 30-day timeframe.
  • Drivers operating vehicles manufactured before the year 2000.

What are the Benefits of ELDs?

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) help with the digital logging of hours of service by drivers. The device ensures optimum hours of service with which it’s easy to keep a check on driver fatigue and increase their safety on the road.

Moreover, replacing paper logbooks enhances the precision of record-keeping and saves time.

Let’s look into some of the major benefits served by electronic logging device.

1) Improved Compliance

ELDs help ensure compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations by accurately recording a driver’s driving time and rest periods. This reduces the likelihood of violations and the penalties associated with it.

2) Accurate Record Keeping 

ELDs automatically track driving time, which further helps eliminate the need for manual paper logs. This reduces the chances of human error and inaccuracies related to record keeping. This further helps in ensuring more precise data for regulatory compliance and billing purposes.

3) Enhances Safety 

By promoting adherence to HOS regulations, ELDs contribute to safer driving practices by reducing instances of driver fatigue and drowsiness. This, in turn, helps lower the risk of accidents caused by tired drivers.

4) Streamlined Operations 

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) provide real-time access to driving data, allowing fleet managers to monitor driver activity and plan routes more efficiently. This can lead to improved fleet management and better utilization of resources.

5) Data Insights

ELDs collect valuable data on driver behavior, vehicle performance, and route efficiency. Analyzing this data can help identify areas for improvement, optimize operations, and enhance overall fleet performance.

Compliance Related to ELDs

Each region has its own set of regulations governing Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. Let’s look into the compliance of some countries.

1) United States

  • The FMCSA mandates the use of ELDs for most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in interstate commerce that are required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS).
  • Also in addition, it is stated that all ELDs must comply with the technical specifications outlined in the FMCSA’s regulations. This includes features such as automatic recording of driving time, location tracking, tamper resistance, and data transfer capabilities.
  • Regulations also govern HOS limits and rest periods for drivers.

2) Canada 

  • In Canada, the use of ELDs is mandated by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA).
  • According to the regulations of CCMTA, electronic logging devices should comply with the technical standards set forth by it. These compliances closely align with the requirements of the FMCSA in the United States.
  • Canadian regulations also govern HOS limits and rest periods for drivers.

3) European Union (EU) 

  • The EU has its regulations governing driving hours and rest periods for commercial drivers, which are outlined in the EU Driver’s Hours Regulations.
  • While the EU does not mandate the use of Electronic logging devices (ELDs) specifically, digital tachographs are required for tracking driver’s hours and activities.
  • Digital tachographs serve a similar purpose to ELDs, recording driving time, rest periods, and other relevant data electronically.

4) Australia 

  • In Australia, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) sets regulations governing fatigue management and compliance for heavy vehicle operators.
  • The use of electronic work diaries (EWDs) is becoming increasingly common for tracking drivers’ work and rest hours.
  • EWDs must comply with technical standards established by NHVR, ensuring accuracy, tamper resistance, and data security.

5) Brazil

  • Brazil has regulations set forth by its National Traffic Council (CONTRAN) governing the use of digital tachographs for commercial vehicles.
  • These devices are used to record driving time, rest periods, and other relevant data in compliance with Brazilian HOS regulations.
  • Digital tachographs must comply with technical specifications outlined by CONTRAN.

Overall, while the specific requirements and terminology may vary between regions. Still, the common goal of these regulations is to promote safety and prevent driver fatigue. Also in addition, it ensures compliance with driving hour limits through the use of electronic logging and monitoring systems.

    🔎         Name of Countries    Regulatory bodies responsible for making ELD rules 
  • United States 
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Canada
  • Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators
  • EU (European Union) 
  • European Commission
  • Australia 
  • National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)
  • Brazil 
  • National Traffic Council (CONTRAN)

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Logging Devices

Advantages of ELD:

Accuracy- ELDs accurately record driving time, reducing errors associated with manual manuals.

Compliance- ELDs help ensure compliance with hourly service regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other regulatory agencies, reducing the risk of fines and penalties.

Efficiency- ELDs automate the logging process, save drivers and administrative staff time, and eliminate the need to manually enter data and paperwork.

Real-time monitoring- Some ELDs offer real-time monitoring capabilities, allowing fleet managers to track driver activity and meet safety and compliance standards.

Improved safety- By controlling driving hours and enforcing rest periods, ELDs help promote safer driving and help reduce the risk of fatigue-related accidents.

Disadvantages of ELDs

Cost- The initial investment in ELD hardware and software can be high for smaller trucking companies or independent drivers. Although the prices of ELDs can vary from place to place the minimum price of ELDs can be between $20- $25/-month.

Technical issues- Like any electronic device, ELDs have technical issues such as connectivity issues or software errors that can block access.

Learning Outcomes- The transition from paper record books to ELDs may require training for drivers and administrative staff, and some drivers may resist this transition.

Dependence on technology- When relying solely on electronic logging equipment, drivers are more susceptible to damage caused by power outages, faulty equipment, or cyberattacks.

Final Words

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) have revolutionized the way commercial vehicle operations are handled. The devices enhance compliance with hours-of-service regulations, thus increasing operational efficiency. It lets fleet owners monitor their vehicles in real-time and ensure a safe driving experience for both drivers and the fleet.

Just like every coin has 2 sides, the positive and the negative side, the same is the case with ELD. The device for sure comes with an array of advantages like the accuracy it provides, real-time tracking, and more. But at the same time, it comes with some disadvantages like heavy dependency on technology, extensive setup costs, chances of technical failure, etc.

However, despite these challenges, the widespread adoption of ELDs marks a positive shift towards a safer and more efficient transportation industry.

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Telematics software compatible with ELD Devices


  • Why are ELDs required?

    ELDs are mandated by regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions to ensure compliance with HOS regulations, promote road safety, and prevent driver fatigue by accurately tracking driving hours and rest periods.

  • Are there any disadvantages to using ELDs?

    While ELDs offer numerous benefits, they may come with challenges such as initial costs, technical issues, learning curves for drivers and staff, and dependence on technology. However, these disadvantages can often be mitigated through proper training, support, and maintenance.

  • Who is required to use ELDs?

    ELDs are required for most commercial motor vehicle drivers currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) under the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

  • What are the key features of ELDs?

    Key features of ELDs include automatic recording of driving time, engine hours, and location tracking; real-time monitoring of driver activity; compliance with HOS regulations; and data transfer capabilities for enforcement and analysis.

  • How do ELDs work?

    ELDs are typically connected to a vehicle's engine and automatically record data such as driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement, and location information. This data is then used to generate RODS that comply with HOS regulations.

Electronic Logging Devices- A Closer Look

Anvesha Pandey

Anvesha is a blooming content writer at TrackoBit. She is a Gen-Z working with a team full of millennials. Reading books is her hobby (her collection of books says it all). She prefers living in the world of Jane Austin. When not reading, you'll find her eating KitKat, brainstorming on social issues, and listening to podcasts.

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