Driver Digest: How Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Will Affect Drivers

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eld in truck

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) has established that by December 10, 2017 trucks and drivers must comply and utilize electronic logging devices (ELDs).  Many carriers, like NFI, already utilize this technology, however those who aren’t have until the end of 2017 to comply. These devices are to be installed into trucks that fit a certain criteria and will change the way truck drivers, carriers, and regulators complete processes. At a minimum, these ELDs are required to automatically record date, time and location information, engine hours, vehicle miles, and driver identification information. The FMSCA predicts that implementing these new devices could save an average of 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 crashes1.

“[ELDs] brings logging records into the modern age…” – American Trucking Association

There are a few exceptions to the ELD mandates. Drivers are exempt if:

  • Drivers keep duty status records in eight or less days within 30 working days.
  • Operations that have are strictly drivers in, drivers out and tow operations.
  • The driver’s truck model was produced prior to 2000.

Less Paperwork, More Time

The automation of driving logs will eliminate a lot of time for drivers and carriers. Drivers will no longer have to manually enter their hours on paper and then worry about keeping the papers together, ensuring they are error-free, and then finding a means to get the information to their carriers. Automating this process will lead to more efficiency and decrease the likelihood of receiving potential fines for poor reporting. It also opens up more time for drivers; the ELDs will keep dispatchers updated and improve overall load planning and hours of service compliance. Drivers will have more accurate hours of service and more potential for overtime. The devices also have capabilities for navigation which can improve drivers’ experience and help them reach their sites in a more timely and efficient manner. The American Trucking Association (ATA) has shown strong support for the ELDs and the opportunities to improve driver processes.

Easier Inspections

One of the most time-consuming processes for drivers is the inspection process. With an ELD, this process will become quick and hassle-free. The ELD will help automate the process for inspectors and give them better data since the ELDs have features that track the performance of the truck itself. These new electronic insights can help inspectors recognize potential violations that could eliminate possible safety risks.

Supporting Documentation

Although the ELD will eliminate a majority of the paperwork for drivers, it will still be necessary for drivers to carry a maximum of eight supporting documents. Drivers can choose to keep these documents electronically or in paper; however, they must be kept updated every 24 hour period that includes on-time duty. Drivers will still be responsible to submit these documents to their carriers within 13 days of receiving them. These documents include bills of lading, itineraries, documents for trip origin and destination, dispatch records, expense receipts, payroll records, settlement sheets, or other records to show forms of payment2. Carriers will have more information on what documentation is necessary.

Phase one for implementation of these devices will begin this February3. For more information on electronic logging devices, the phases of implementation, and the rules surrounding them you can visit FMSCA.


  1. http://www.thetruckersreport.com/eld-mandate-the-final-final-rule/
  2. http://www.overdriveonline.com/e-log-mandate-set-to-take-effect-dec-2017-rule-to-be-published-by-fmcsa-friday/
  3. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/implementation-timeline