Fact Sheet: Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule for trucks and buses

What's happening? How are Senators helping?

December 11, 2017

On December 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule requiring the use of an electronic logging device (ELD) for carriers and drivers who are already required to maintain records of duty status (hours operating a commercial truck or bus). Beginning December 18, 2017, a covered driver stopped for roadside inspection without a required ELD will receive a citation, however they will not count against a carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. Beginning April 1, 2018, vehicles stopped for inspection that do not have the required ELD will impact SMS scores and no longer allowed to operate without an ELD.

What is the purpose of the ELD rule?

FMCSA says the new ELD rule “is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.” An ELD automatically records driving time for an easier and more accurate accounting of hours of service. As a result, according to FMCSA’s analysis, the new rule will prevent an estimated 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries, and save 26 lives every year.

Where can I learn more about the new ELD rule and how to comply?

- FMCSA’s ELD overview

- List of certified ELDs

- FMCSA’s frequently asked questions about ELDs

- Final ELD rule (as published in the federal register)

- Exemptions for drivers hauling agricultural commodities and livestock

- FMCSA's 90-day Waiver

- Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service (HOS) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Rules

Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses

How is the new ELD requirement related to existing hours of service (HOS) rules?


“The FMCSA hours of service rules are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes. Although many commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers feel that they know when they are getting drowsy, various laboratory tests have shown that persons are not good at estimating their own drowsiness.”

ELDs are intended to replace paperwork tracking of HOS rules compliance and modernize enforcement. By automatically monitoring core truck operations and allowing operators to digitally input information on rest breaks and other exemptions, ELDs should not affect operations for drivers who adhere to existing rules. Respecting the privacy rights of drivers, ELDs electronically monitor operation of a vehicle but do not record audio or video.

Click here for FMCSA’s hours of service rules summary.

We’re listening. How could changes to hours of service rules could help you and highway safety?

In an effort to examine possible hours of service rules relief for drivers, while maintaining safety, tell the Commerce Committee about your situation.

By April 1, 2018, please e-mail any suggestions to truckrules[at]commerce.senate.gov. Please include a brief description of your situation or business and your suggestions for improving driver safety and efficiency, specifically as it relates to hours of service.

For example:

My business: hauling cattle
HOS: More flexibility on sleeper berths
Benefits: Allows drivers to breakout sleeper berth time to accommodate for unique conditions of hauling cattle

While the committee will not be able to reply to all messages, we will read all suggestions and use the information to continue the conversation on driver relief. Please note, we may use some information we receive in our public legislative efforts so please note in your submission any request for confidentiality.

What have Senators done to address concerns about the implementation of the rule?

- May 4, 2017: Senate Commerce Committee staff hosts ELD briefing to discuss ELD rule and implementation with FMCSA officials.

- June 2017: Following briefing and Senate inquiries, FMCSA publishes additional guidance on the 150 air-mile radius exemption, clarifying that hours of service regulations do not apply to any work conducted within the 150 air-mile radius from the source of the agriculture commodity and livestock, providing significant time to the work day.

- September 1, 2017: Sen. Thune staff host meeting in Dell Rapids, South Dakota to discuss ELDs and hear concerns from trucks drivers and small business owners.

- October 18, 2017: DOT hosts listening session in Washington D.C. with truckers and small business owners to discuss ELD implementation and HOS exemptions specific to agricultural and livestock haulers.

- October 31, 2017: Chairman Thune and the Senate Commerce Committee hold a nominations hearing to consider President Trump’s nominee, Raymond Martinez, to be the Administrator of the FMCSA. The Chairman along with other members of the committee asked and submitted questions for the record for Martinez regarding ELD implementation and appropriate relief.

- November 6, 2017: Sen. Thune and the Senate Commerce Committee receives response from Martinez to post-hearing questions. Martinez states: “I look forward to working with all stakeholders, including small independent trucking companies, and especially those who, such as livestock haulers, would be most affected by this rule. I will have an open-door policy to work with all stakeholders to meet with them and hear their concerns.”

- November 16, 2017: Sens. Thune, Fischer, and Rounds write to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao seeking clarification about exemptions for agricultural and livestock operations and other issues of concern to stakeholders including a recently filed petition from agricultural and livestock groups seeking relief.

- November 20, 2017: Following the letter from Sens. Thune, Fischer, and Rounds to Secretary Chao, FMCSA announces new guidance on ELD enforcement to be published in the upcoming weeks for comment including a 90-day temporary waiver for transporters of agricultural commodities and livestock. (May 31, 2018: FMCSA announces finalized guidance)

- May 17, 2018: Chairman Thune, along with 29 Senators, leads a letter to FMCSA urging the agency to explore improvements to the hours of service regulations that ensure drivers across differing business and operations can safely and efficiently comply with such requirements.                                                           

- April 26, 2018: Chairman Thune meets with FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez, to discuss hours of service and ongoing agency work to address the one-size-fits-all regulation.

- August 20, 2018: Following the letter from Chairman Thune, FMCSA announces an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on changes to hours of service regulations.

ELD Implementation Timeline:

- July 6, 2012: The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century surface transportation reauthorization is signed into law, containing a provision that directs DOT to mandate ELDs.

- Dec 16, 2015: FMCSA publishes final rule on ELDs, giving drivers and carriers two years to comply with mandate.

- Dec 18, 2017: The ELD mandate goes into effect for drivers and carriers required to follow record of duty status with the exception for those who use automatic on board recording devices.

- Dec 19, 2017: FMCSA publishes notice of proposed guidance concerning personal conveyance

- Dec 20, 2017: FMCSA publishes notice of proposed regulatory guidance concerning the transportation of agricultural commodities

- April 1, 2018: State law enforcement officials will begin placing non-compliant trucks out of service.

- December 16, 2019: All drivers and carriers must be compliant with ELD rule.

March 19, 2018: FMCSA announced an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance. FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule. 

- The recently enacted FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill includes a provision that prohibits funds from being used to enforce the ELD regulation for livestock and insect haulers.  The effect of this provision is outlined below:

- Currently, and through June 18, 2018, the existing waiver from the ELD requirements for all transporters of agricultural commodities, including livestock, will remain in place.
- Livestock (as defined in 49 CFR 395.2) and insect haulers are not required to comply (agricultural commodities not included) with the ELD rule for the duration of the FY 2018 appropriations bill (September 30, 2018).
- Further guidance will be provided by FMCSA as we near the June 18, 2018 expiration for the existing waiver, and upon the publication of any new continuing resolutions or appropriations.