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Delivery Logistics

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): Is Your Fleet Required to Use Them?

Discover the benefits of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for long-haul truckers. Ensure compliance, track fleets, and avoid costly fines efficiently.

Most long-haul truckers in the U.S. cover over 100,000 miles per year.

Tracking compliance with the mandated 70 hours of service (HoS) each week can be time-consuming for drivers, dispatchers, and managers.

Using ELD-tracking helps you always know where your truck fleet is. It ensures compliance with trucking regulations and avoids costly fines (ranging from $1,045 to $26,126 per vehicle) while maintaining a low CSA score.

In this article, we'll explain what an ELD is, how it works, the ELD mandate, whether you need it for your operations, and more.

To navigate the topic that interests you, click on the links below:

Understanding Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

An ELD system is primarily designed to accurately track driving hours. That, in turn, eliminates human error or misreporting. It connects to the truck's internal computer and utilizes data points to generate a digital log of usage.

What is the Function of an ELD?

1. Vehicle Usage Tracking

ELDs track driving hours and vehicle usage by directly connecting to the truck’s engine control unit (ECU).

2. Vehicle Mileage Tracking

ELDs record mileage and other key data points like speed by interfacing with the truck's computer.

3. Vehicle Location Tracking

ELDs use GPS to track vehicle locations, allowing real-time monitoring of your entire fleet.

4. Compliance Requirement

Industries like long-haul trucking, which must report driver logs (record of duty status - RODS) to comply with hours of service (HoS) regulations, are mandated to use ELDs.

Advantages of ELD Usage

Adopting an ELD system offers numerous important benefits even if you are not subject to the ELD rule.

Optimizing HOS-Compliant Routes and Schedules with ELDs

Use your ELD to plan efficient routes and schedules that follow hours of service (HOS) regulations, and then track the outcomes.

ELDs provide precise tracking of HOS time, ensuring that all drivers remain compliant.

Yet, planning routes that adhere to driving breaks and hours while meeting deadlines can be challenging.

Manual planning by dispatchers may lead to drivers unintentionally exceeding their mandated driving hours. That might happen due to inadequate consideration of real-time traffic and other factors.

Use eLogii's intelligent route optimization tools to plan efficient routes that meet ELD and HOS regulations.

This is crucial for businesses aiming to maximize fleet use while maintaining compliance with regulations.

eLogii's automated planning features assist dispatchers in quickly devising efficient routes, factoring in delivery time windows, service areas, required breaks, and maximum driver hours per week or shift.


Integrating eLogii with a fleet management solution is highly beneficial for delivery and field service businesses. This approach results in more efficient routes. It leads to cost savings, reduced driving time, fuel consumption, and minimized vehicle wear and tear.

Additionally, combining eLogii with a fleet management solution enables businesses to effectively plan driver hours. It then allows them to comply with Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which are recorded through Electronic Logging Device (ELD) devices.


Reduced Driver Manual Entry

Drivers no longer need physical logbooks or manual recording of driving hours. All data is automatically saved in an electronic logbook.

ELD devices (black boxes) installed in vehicles track driving hours and breaks. They also ensure compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations through inspections.

Streamlined Vehicle Tracking

Businesses can automatically track vehicles with ELDs, eliminating human error as the ELD communicates directly with the truck’s computer.

Using the eLogii mobile app, you can track vehicles and drivers, analyzing deviations from scheduled routes. Keeping electronic logs not only enhances fuel efficiency but also improves customer support by utilizing the most efficient drivers.

Who Needs an ELD According to the Mandate?

The FMCSA mandated ELDs for specific commercial drivers by the end of 2017:

  • Generally, all long-haul trucking or bus drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must maintain records of duty status (RODS). This requirement applies to drivers for companies like FedEx Freight, Swift Transportation, or other national carriers.
  • Short-haul delivery and bus drivers within a 100-air-mile radius or working under 10 hours (for goods) or 8 hours (for passengers) of consecutive breaks are exempt from the ELD requirement. This includes local bus drivers with split shifts.

Full enforcement of these rules began on April 1, 2018, with violations resulting in fines and affecting your CSA score.

Exemptions from ELD Compliance

Several exemptions exist for ELD compliance regulations, particularly for short-haul, last-mile delivery, or part-time operations.

The following categories of companies and drivers in the commercial driving and trucking industries are exempt from the mandate:

  • Short-haul delivery operations within a 100-air-mile radius, exempt from RODS regulations if they have more than 10 hours of consecutive breaks (e.g., USPS last-mile delivery drivers).
  • Delivery operations using vehicles that do not need a commercial driving license (CDL) and operate within a 150 air-mile radius with over 10 hours of consecutive breaks (e.g., Uber Eats and other food delivery companies).
  • Drive-away-tow-away operations, where the towed vehicle is the sole commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers who use RODS paper logs for not more than eight days per month.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 with the original engine intact (as ELDs need an ECU to function).
  • Certain drivers of farm vehicles (refer to FMCSA's official agricultural commodity exemptions for more details).

eLogii and ELDs: A Cost-Effective Combination

The ELD system primarily deals with fleet management tasks like tracking your fleet and vehicle usage, which contributes to fleet management. However, the ELD alone may not directly enhance fleet productivity.

eLogii helps maximize the performance of each vehicle and driver in your fleet by planning more efficient routes. It also provides better workload management tools to reduce overtime.

Ananas took its delivery operations to the next level by implementing eLogii's route management tools to improve fleet efficiency. They achieved a double digit operational savings within months.

Like many businesses, Ananas incurs most of its costs in the last mile of delivery. So, improving efficiency in the last mile is crucial for maintaining strong unit economics.

Most Frequently Asked ELD Questions

Here, we've outlined some of the ELD questions truckers ask us most often.

Is an ELD Required by Law?

Yes, if you engage in long-haul trucking and are mandated to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS). No, if you conduct short-haul deliveries within a 100-air-mile radius, operate towing businesses, or are exempt from RODS reporting.

Refer to the official Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines for detailed information.

Can My Cellphone be Used as an ELD?

Your cellphone can function as an ELD if the software you use meets FMCSA requirements.

To confirm compliance, consult the FMCSA's official list of registered ELDs. Yet, note that this list is self-registered and not officially endorsed by the FMCSA. The FMCSA does not recommend or endorse specific solutions.

What is the Cost of ELDs?

The price of an ELD depends on the solution you select. Smartphone apps can be as affordable as $15 per month, allowing you to implement a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy with your drivers. Or, you can provide drivers with physical devices that typically range from $20 to $60 per month, with one-time fees ranging from $99 to $1200 or more.

How Can I Use Route Optimization and ELD Together?

For long-haul carriers, ELDs ensure compliance with FMCSA and DOT regulations by tracking drivers' active driving hours and vehicle activity.

Route optimization tools help during the planning phase by creating more efficient routes, reducing fuel consumption, overtime, and saving time when scheduling routes for your fleet.

Short-haul carriers (exempt from ELDs) can also benefit from solutions like eLogii to track fleet performance. We track driver locations and delivery progress using GPS data from our mobile app.

What is the Difference Between AOBRD and ELDs?

Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) were the predecessors to ELDs. The deadline to replace AOBRDs with ELD Mandate-compliant devices was December 16, 2019.


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