Most Frequently Asked ELD Mandate Questions

Here are the most common and frequently asked ELD mandate questions. Additionally, if there is anything else, give us a call at 855-434-3564 or drop an email at so we can help you.

ELD Mandate

What is the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate is the final ELD rule published by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). The ELD mandate requires most commercial vehicles operating in the country to install electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Who published the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate was published by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on December 16, 2015.

When is the ELD mandate deadline?

The ELD mandate deadline is December 18, 2017. Most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), which are not exempt from the ELD mandate, will have to install compliant electronic logging devices (ELDs) by December 18, 2017, in order to stay compliant. However, there is one exception. For vehicles using AOBRDs, there is a 2-year extension period. They can run on AOBRDs until December 16, 2019. Beyond December 16, 2019, however, AOBRDs won't be compliant, and they will have to install compliant ELDs.

What is the "grandfather" clause in the ELD mandate?

The "grandfather" clause refers to the 2-year extension period given to vehicles with AOBRDs. In other words, vehicles that are using AOBRDs can install ELDs by December 16, 2019.

What is the ELD mandate about? What are its objectives?

The ELD mandate is mainly about promoting safety and accountability in the trucking industry. The FMCSA estimates that the ELD mandate will save approximately 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries every year. According to a report by DOT, approximately 500,000 accidents involving commercial vehicles happen every year. Further investigations and studies of causation reveal that 87% of these accidents happen because of driver fatigue. The ELD mandates aims to eliminate driver fatigue so valuable lives can be saved. DOT plans to completely eliminate road deaths by 2046.


What does an ELD do?

In its most basic form, ELDs track the movement of the vehicles and drivers' duty statuses. As a result, they help carriers and truckers stay compliant with FMCSA's ELD mandate.

What does an ELD record automatically?

An ELD, at certain intervals, record the following data:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location Information
  • Engine Hours
  • Vehicle Miles
  • Identification information for the driver, authenticated user,
  • Vehicle, and motor carrier.

When does an ELD switch to driving mode?

If a vehicle is moving at more than 5 miles per hour, the ELD will automatically switch to driving mode. Once the speed of the vehicle falls to 0 miles per hour and stays there for 3 consecutive seconds, the ELD will consider the vehicle stopped.

When does an ELD switch to driving mode?

An ELD does not automatically transmit data to inspectors or law enforcement agencies nor does it automatically trigger violations.


Can I buy an AOBRD after December 18, 2017?

No, you cannot buy a new AOBRD and install in a vehicle after December 18, 2017. However, if you are replacing a truck with an AOBRD, you can install that existing AOBRD in a new truck. But you won't be able to buy a new AOBRD and install in a vehicle.

Do EOBRs, AOBRDs, and ELDs refer to the same device?

No. All these terms refer to different devices. The ELD mandate only recognizes AOBRDs and ELDs.

What are the differences between EOBRs, AOBRDs, and ELDs?

An EOBR, or Electronic On-Board Recorder, is an obsolete term. EOBRs won't help you stay compliant with the latest ELD mandate. An AOBRD, or Automatic On-Board Recording Device, records a driver's duty information, engine speed, engine use, miles driven, date, and time of the day. Some vehicles still use AOBRDs. Those vehicles will have an additional 2-year period, until December 16, 2019, to replace AOBRDs with ELDs. After December 16, 2019, AOBRDs will no longer be compliant. ELDs, or Electronic Logging Devices, connect with the vehicle's ECM and records data in compliance with FMCSA's ELD mandate. Vehicles that aren't already using AOBRDs have until December 18, 2017, to install compliant and FMCSA-registered ELDs.


Who needs ELDs to be compliant?

Most interstate CMV drivers who maintain RODs will require ELDs to stay compliant.

My drivers only use mobile e-log apps. Is that enough for compliance?

This is often the most common question people ask. While e-log mobile apps are great for logging Hours-of-Service, compliant ELDs are more than that. An ELD, to be compliant, has to be connected with the ECM (engine control module) to automatically collect the required data. Mobile e-log apps do not do that. Hence, they cannot be used as an alternative for electronic logging devices or ELDs. A hardware electronic logging device will be required.

Do all ELDs in the market guarantee compliance?

No. Not every ELD you see in the market guarantees compliance. Only FMCSA-registered ELDs can guarantee compliance.

How can be I sure that an ELD is compliant with the FMCSA?

Thankfully, the FMCSA has a list of self-registered ELDs on their website. You should only purchase an ELD that is in that list. Note: Motive ELDs are registered and present in that list.

What happens if an ELD stops working?

If an ELD stops working for some reason, the driver of the vehicle must do the following:

  • Note the failure of the device
  • Reconstruct his/her logs for the current day as well as the previous 7 days, less any days for which he/she already has the records
  • Continue to prepare a handwritten log until the electronic logging device is working again
  • Notify the carrier within 24 hours of the ELD's failure.

What happens if an ELD is found to be non-compliant after it is in use?

The motor carrier will have 8 days from notification to replace the non-compliant ELD with a compliant one. In case of a widespread issue, the FMCSA may work with the affected motor carrier to determine a reasonable timeframe for the replacement of non-compliant devices.


Do drivers using ELDs have to print out logs for DOT inspectors?

As long as the ELD has a display that the DOT inspector can see, drivers do not have to print out logs. If drivers can transfer logs to a roadside inspector or show them on, say, a compliant mobile device, printing of logs isn't necessary.

Does it matter how an ELD connects with the driver's mobile device?

Yes, it matters. In fact, it can be the difference between compliance and non-compliance. ELDs can connect with the driver's mobile device (BOYD) via Bluetooth or cellular network for transmitting important data. A cellular-based ELD system, however, is a compliance risk as it will stop working in an area with spotty cellular coverage. A Bluetooth connection is much more reliable and is always there. It ensures 100% compliance wherever you are. For more information, read this post: Cellular vs. Bluetooth - How Motive Ensures 100% ELD Mandate Compliance

In addition to the ELD itself, what else would the driver must also carry?

Any driver using an ELD must also carry the following items:

  • A user manual for operating the ELD
  • A step-by-step instruction sheet for transferring Hours-of-Service records to an authorized safety official
  • An instruction sheet for reporting ELD malfunctions and record keeping procedures during ELD malfunctions
  • A supply of paper grid graphs to record driver duty status and related information for at least 8 days, in case of ELD malfunction.

Hours of Service

Can an ELD warn drivers for upcoming HOS violations?

Although it is not a mandatory feature, FMCSA allows it. In fact, modern ELDs, like Motive's ELD solution, notify drivers of any upcoming Hours-of-Service violations well in advance, so they can stay compliant.

Does an ELD stop a CMV engine if it exceeds Hours of Service limits?

No, an ELD cannot stop the vehicle even if it has exceeded the Hours-of-Service limits.