What does ELD stand for?​

ELD is an acronym for Electronic Logging Device. These devices are also called E-log or electronic logbooks. Regardless of the name one may use to describe the device, this device is mandatory to use in every commecial vehicle in US and Canada.

In terms of its composition, the ELD device is simply a piece of hardware. The ELD device is meant to record different information pertaining to the truck (or any other commercial vehicle)’s operations.

This device can record the information by itself. However, in order to display the information the device requires a tablet or a smartphone. ELD Devices came to replace the electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR) that were previously used.

To comply with the ELD Mandate, an ELD installed in your truck must be approved by the FMCSA.

So you may ask what is the purpose of this device and what does it do? Or, Do I need and ELD?

We are going to drive you through all you need to know about Electronic Logging Devices

what is eld

Information recorded by ELD

The ELD is recording many pieces of valuable information.

ELD units are designed to provide information about the driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) that shows whether or not they are complying with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.

The most important and the most obvious one is the number of hours a truck is in operation. In addition to that, the device records when the truck is in motion, the rate of speed the truck travels. Further, the device tracks parked hours / idle time.

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ELD Regulations

Commercial vehicles in Canada and United States are required to transition from AOBRD to ELD. To prevent hacking and manipulation, Canada is requiring that all ELDs be certified by a third party. In the United States, ELDs are self-certified by the manufacturer using FMCSA certification standards.

There are a few differences between U.S. and Canadian ELDs. They mostly deal with reporting requirements and units of measurement. However, there has been a cooperative effort to ensure smooth transport between the two countries at the nearly 80 crossing points for Canadian and U.S. commercial vehicles.


Differences Between AOBRD and ELD

Onboard (AOBRD) recording devices are an older form of recordkeeping when compared to ELD technology. An onboard device connects to the vehicle engine and records hours of service. However, it records less information than an ELD, and it doesn’t have the convenient digital data display. 

An ELD is connected to the truck’s engine computer, also called the electronic control module (ECM), instead of directly to the engine. Here are a few of the benefits of ELD over AOBRD:

  • More precise synchronization of data
  • Enhanced location recording
  • Display or printout of changes to duty status
  • Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) synchronization

An ELD automatically switches the duty status to ‘On-Duty, Not Driving’ when a truck doesn’t move for five minutes with no response from the driver. It also records the vehicle’s location at one-hour intervals while it’s being driven. An ELD even tracks the beginning and end times when a truck is being moved within a truck yard.

Is an ELD the same as an EOBR?

An Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) was a term used by the FMCSA starting back in the early 2000s. This term was used to describe any electronic device that was connected to the truck and recorded driving information.

However, in 2012, when the legislation went through that led to the development of the ELD mandate, this term was abandoned, and ELD was used instead.

If you are already using an EOBR, then this is likely to be an ELD device, and you may already be compliant with the ELD mandate.

Be sure to double-check to make sure that the device you’re using in your trucks is fully FMCSA-compliant.

Specifications and Requirements

According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an ELD must record a commercial truck as being in driving mode when it reaches a speed of five miles per hour. It records all of the data below at various intervals:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Vehicle
  • Mileage
  • Engine hours
  • Driver ID
  • User authorization
  • Motor carrier

Usage of Data recorded by ELD

what is eld

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) utilize the data collected by the ELD. 

The authorities, enforce Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules. It is that usage that pushed the federal government to pass the ELD mandate. However, there are other usages for the data.

Many industry experts are against the use of ELD devices. Industry experts  debate the true motive to the ruling. Some experts believe the purposes of the ruling is to fine truck drivers and generate additional revenue for the government.

The federal authority target driver fatigue by limiting the number of hours drivers are forced to work. Reducing the number of hours drivers spend on the road makes the roads safer for everyone.

Trucking companies use the data to fine drivers that are driving over speed limit or commit other moving violations without getting pulled over by law enforcement.

The ELD device records drivers committing traffic violations. Unnecessary risks, such as, driving over the speed limit eliminated by reviewing ELD device’s data.

Transportation companies may measure the performance of the engine. Engine performance evaluated by analysing RPM, fuel consumption , torque and speed.

Trucking companies utilize the devices to uncover harmful drivers.  Also, drivers using the truck inappropriately. For instance, some truck drivers use the commercial vehicle  for personal errands. Such practice increases the hours of use and decrease the value of the vehicle. 

What ELD Device MUST have?

As per the FMSCA rule, an ELD device must connect to the truck’s engine. The ELD device retrieves engine data. The data displays in the form of a graph.

The device have various driver modes. The driver modes are on-duty, off-duty and driving.  The format of the data in  a standardized form established by the Federal authority.

The driver can update the driving mode. The device will verify the selection. The device verifies the driver mode by evaluation of the movement of the vehicle.

Older tracking applications, allow the driver to enter their status but did not verify this selection. This allowed drivers to falsify their electronic log books. The loophole made electronic applications invaluable as their counterparts–outdated paper logbooks.  The device must be able to send the information via wireless, USB or Bluetooth technology to the proper authorities for review.

Important Features

All of these features are needed in an ELD for full compliance and ease of use by drivers and managers:

  • Individual accounts for drivers and administrators
  • Driving time recorded in 60-minute intervals
  • Driver copy of records through digital display or printout
  • Driver certification requirement every 24 hours
  • Ability to connect on all data platforms
  • Retention of data without tampering
  • Records kept for seven consecutive days
  • Assignment of driving records to driver or others
  • Access to all information by DOT and law enforcement officials

Important Features

All of these features are needed in an ELD for full compliance and ease of use by drivers and managers:

  • Individual accounts for drivers and administrators
  • Driving time recorded in 60-minute intervals
  • Driver copy of records through digital display or printout
  • Driver certification requirement every 24 hours
  • Ability to connect on all data platforms
  • Retention of data without tampering
  • Records kept for seven consecutive days
  • Assignment of driving records to driver or others
  • Access to all information by DOT and law enforcement officials

ELD Reporting and Connectivity

Data is provided in a standard format that can be read by fleet managers, law enforcement and the DOT. The record from your ELD can be transmitted in these four ways:

  • Wireless internet signal
  • Cell phone signal
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • USB cable

Many new ELDs have a wireless hotspot built in. You can not only use this connection to transmit logging information, but also to access the web through a tablet or other wireless device. 

Fleet owners can use this connectivity to view the routes and timeframes of all trucks in operation. Between cell phone and internet providers, a signal is almost always available for immediate updates. 

Fleet managers can also opt for push notifications that let them know in real time whether a driver is operating the vehicle safely.

Transfer of data via Bluetooth and USB doesn’t update records for fleet managers in real time. However, it does continue to provide information to the driver when the truck passes through areas with no cell phone or internet signal. The record can be immediately updated as soon as an internet signal is once more available.

How much does an ELD Device Cost?

The cost of ELD device can range between $240 to $700 a year per truck. The average cost of ELD device hoovers around $495 annually per truck.

For more information regarding the different costs check electronic logging devices comparison.

You can request a free consultation by filling the questionnaire below, a professional advisor will prepare a quote and the best ELD options for your business model.

Electronic Logging Device Exceptions

Four categories of commercial vehicles are exempt from the ELD requirement:

Older Trucks: Vehicle with engines manufactured before 2000 don’t have to have an ELD. This exemption is based on the age of the engine, not the truck body.

Drive-Away or Tow-Away Operations: When vehicles are being transported by another truck, they don’t have to have ELDs onboard. This also applies to trucks towing recreational vehicles and motorhomes.

Short-Haul Drivers: Drivers who are only required to maintain a Record of Duty Status (RODS) for up to 8 days in a 30-day period aren’t required to keep electronic logs. This allows short-haul drivers to take occasional longer hauls without having to upgrade to an ELD.

Daily Transport Drivers: Some drivers pick up a vehicle at the beginning of a shift, make deliveries, and then return the vehicle at the end of the day. As long as deliveries are made within a 100-mile radius, they are also exempt.

Benefits of ELD Technology

Verifiable records and automatic accountability removes some of the headaches of recordkeeping for drivers. It also cuts down on driver fatigue, and lowers the incidence of traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles. For fleet administrators, ELD offers an easier workload for verifying logbooks. Besides increasing road safety, comparable standards between Canada and the United States also increased trade and benefit the economies of both countries.

Using an ELD is a positive step for the driving workforce. In the past, drivers were sometimes harassed if their records didn’t fit the expectations of the shipping companies they worked for. The unscrupulous actions of these few companies reflected poorly on the rest. With ELD technology, records can no longer be changed without a clear record of when they were altered and by whom.

Simply by taking our short survey and entering your zip code, you can access a list of the most effective and cutting-edge ELD systems available in your area. (At this time, we only cover the United States.) We’ll email you a list of devices along with their pricing details and most important features. And, in addition to the buyers guide, we offer a free consultation to help you choose the best ELD for your company.

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