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  • Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.Hutch ELD is registered with the FMCSA
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

The ELD applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers.

The ELD rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate, including:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2008.

Beginning on December 18, 2017, a driver using an ELD must have a ELD information packet onboard the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) containing the following items:

  • A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
  • An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official
  • An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and record keeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and
  • A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver's duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days.

Prior to December 18, 2017, FMCSA recommends that drivers have the user’s manual, malfunction instruction sheet, and graph-grids.

Yes. A driver may use a portable ELD. A portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation (CMV) and visible to the driver from a normal seated driving position. This information can be found in the ELD Rule section 395.22(g).

A motor carrier must retain ELD record of duty status (RODS) data and back-up data for six months. The back-up copy of ELD records must be maintained on a device separate from that where original data are stored. Additionally, a motor carrier must retain a driver’s ELD records in a manner that protects driver privacy.

Drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS) or use ELDs. Additionally, the following drivers are not required to use ELDs; however, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required:

  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

The 30-day period is not restricted to a single month, but applies to any 30-day period. For example, June 15 to July 15 is considered a 30-day period.

Authorized safety officials may inspect and copy motor carrier records and request any records needed to perform their duties.

Yes. Motor carriers with operations that are exempt from the requirements of 395.8 are exempt from the ELD rule.

No. Motor carriers or drivers that operate rented or leased commercial motor vehicle are required to record hours of service with a ELD, unless the driver or commercial motor vehicle is exempt from the requirements of the ELD rule.

Yes. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers must comply with the Federal hours of service rules while operating in the United States. This includes using ELDs unless they qualify for one of the exceptions. A driver operating in multiple jurisdictions will be able to annotate the driver’s record of duty status on the ELD with information on periods of operation outside the United States.

The ELD provider may tailor the device to its customers’ needs/operations to assist them in accurately monitoring drivers’ hours of service compliance. This includes cross-border operations.

Yes. Drivers can drive CMVs equipped with ELDs and still use their exception. A motor carrier may configure an ELD to show the exception for drivers exempt from using the ELD, or use the ELD annotation to record the status.

Yes. However, the ELD must comply with the ELD rule’s technical specifications. The ELD may use alternative sources to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters, in accordance with the accuracy requirements in Section 4.3.1 of the ELD rule.

All motor carriers and drivers must comply with the supporting documents requirements starting December 18, 2017.

Motor carriers must retain up to eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period that a driver is on duty. Drivers must submit their records of duty status (RODS) and supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them. If a motor carrier retains more than 8 supporting documents, the motor carrier must maintain the first and last document generated during the regular course of business.

Motor carriers must retain RODS and supporting documents for six months.

Supporting documents required in the normal course of business are important to verify a driver’s record of duty status (RODS). They consist of five categories, described in 49 CFR 395.11(c):

  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that indicate the origin and destination of each trip;
  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts related to any on-duty not-driving time;
  • Electronic mobile communication records, reflecting communications transmitted through a fleet management system; and
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents that indicate what and how a driver was paid. If a driver keeps paper RODS under 49 CFR 395.8(a)(1)(iii), the carrier must also retain toll receipts. For drivers using paper RODS, toll receipts do not count toward the eight-document cap.

Two categories—electronic mobile communications and payroll records—are not documents a driver would have to physically retain. They may be part of a larger record that the carrier retains electronically or physically at the dispatch location or principal place of business. In applying the eight-document limit, all information in an electronic mobile communication record will be counted as one document per duty day.

No. Documents acquired throughout the day are important in enforcing the 60/70-hour rule—a crucial part of ensuring hours of service compliance. Compliance with the 60/70-hour rule is based on the cumulative hours an individual works over a period of days. Supporting documents are critical to verify the proper duty statuses in assessing compliance with the 60/70 hour rules.

Supporting documents must contain the following elements:

  • Driver name or carrier-assigned identification number, either on the document or on another document enabling the carrier to link the document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can also be used if it can be linked to the driver;
  • Date;
  • Location (including name of nearest city, town, or village); and
  • Time.

If a driver has fewer than eight documents that include all four elements, a document that contains all of the elements except “time” is considered a supporting document.

If a driver submits more than eight documents, the motor carrier must retain the first and last documents for that day and six other supporting documents. If a driver submits fewer than eight documents, the motor carrier must keep each document.

Upon request, a driver must provide any supporting documents in the driver’s possession for an authorized safety official’s review.

“Paper RODS” means RODS that are not kept on a ELD or automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), but that are either recorded manually (in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8(f)) or on a computer is not synchronized with the vehicle or that is otherwise not qualified to be a ELD or AOBRD. Printouts of RODS from ELDs are the reports that ELDs must be able to generate upon request from an authorized safety official, per section 4.8.1 of the ELD rule.

An edit is a change to an electronic logging device (ELD) record that does not overwrite the original record, while an annotation is a note related to a record, update, or edit that a driver or authorized support personnel may input to the ELD. Section 49 CFR 395.30(c)(2) requires that all edits, whether made by a driver or motor carrier, be annotated to document the reason for the change. For example, an edit showing time being switched from “off duty” to “on-duty not driving” could be annotated by the carrier to note, “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off duty.” This edit and annotation would then be sent to the driver for approval.

Yes. A driver can use annotations to indicate the beginning and end of a period of authorized personal commercial vehicle use, or yard moves, as well as other special driving categories, such as adverse driving conditions (49 CFR 395.1(b)) or oilfield operations (49 CFR 395.1(d)).

Both the driver and authorized carrier staff can make limited edits to a ELD record to correct mistakes or add missing information. All edits must include a note (annotation) to explain the reason for the edit. In addition, the driver must confirm (certify) that any carrier edit is accurate, and resubmit the records. If the driver chooses not to recertify RODs, this is also reflected in the ELD record.

The ELD must keep the original, unedited record, along with the edits. Example: a carrier edits a record to switch a period of time from “off-duty” to “on-duty not driving”, with a note that explains “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off-duty”. The edit and annotation are sent to the driver to verify. The edit is not accepted until the driver confirms it and resubmits the RODS.

Although the ELD reflects the driver’s RODS, the driver and carrier share responsibility for the integrity of the records. The driver certification is intended, in part, to protect drivers from unilateral changes. However, if the driver is unavailable or unwilling to recertify the record, the carrier’s proposed edit and annotation would remain part of the record.

Yes. The original ELD records are retained even when allowed edits and annotations are made. If the driver cannot independently access the records from the ELD, the motor carrier must provide access on request. However, the right to access is limited to a six-month period, consistent with the period during which a motor carrier must retain drivers’ records of duty status (RODS).

No. An ELD automatically records all of the time that a CMV is in motion as driving time that cannot be edited or changed to non-driving time.

Yes. Drivers may edit their RODS using ELD back office support systems. While these edits or corrections are allowed to ensure an accurate record of the driver’s duty status, the electronic record must retain what was originally recorded, as well as the date, time, and identity of the individual entering the corrections or edits.

If multiple, compatible ELDs are used to record a driver’s RODS within a motor carrier’s operation, the ELD in the vehicle the driver is operating must be able to produce a complete ELD report for that driver, on demand, for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days.

The motor carrier and the driver are responsible for ensuring that all of the RODS information required by the HOS rules is available for review by authorized safety officials at the roadside. If the driver uses multiple ELDs that are not compatible (e.g., the data file from one system cannot be uploaded into the other system), the driver must either manually enter the missing duty status information or provide a printout from the other system(s) so that an accurate accounting of the duty status for the current and previous seven days is available for the authorized safety official.

For a reset or replaced ELD, the ELD rule requires data or documents showing the driver’s record of duty status (RODS) history in the vehicle. This data would include the driver’s past seven days of RODS, either loaded into the “new” ELD or in paper format to be provided at roadside.

For team drivers, the driver account associated with the driving time records may be edited and reassigned between the team drivers, if there was a mistake resulting in a mismatch between the actual driver and the driver recorded by the ELD, and if both team drivers were indicated in one another’s records as a co-driver. Each co-driver must confirm the change for the corrective action to take effect.

A driver must review any unassigned driving time when he or she logs into the ELD. If the unassigned records do not belong to the driver, the driver must indicate that in the ELD record. If driving time logged under this unassigned account belongs to the driver, the driver must add that driving time to his or her own record.

A motor carrier must either explain why the time is unassigned or assign the time to the appropriate driver. The motor carrier must retain unidentified driving records for at least six months as a part of its hours of service (HOS) ELD records and make them available to authorized safety officials.

An ELD automatically records the following data elements at certain intervals: date; time; location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and identification information for the driver, authenticated user, vehicle, and motor carrier.

Location data must be recorded by an ELD at 60-minute intervals when the vehicle is in motion, and when the driver powers up and shuts down the engine, changes duty status, and indicates personal use or yard Moves.

No. Vehicle location information is not sufficiently precise to identify street addresses. For each change in duty status, the ELD must convert automatically captured vehicle position in latitude/longitude coordinates into geo-location information that indicates the approximate distance and direction to an identifiable location corresponding to the name of a nearby city, town, or village, with a State abbreviation.

No. ELDs are not required to collect data on vehicle speed, braking action, steering function or other vehicle performance parameters. ELDs are only required to collect data to determine compliance with hours of service (HOS) regulations.

No. The specifications for ELDs do not include requirements to control the vehicle. An ELD is a recording device that records vehicle parameters through its synchronization to the vehicle’s engine, and allows for entries related to a driver’s record of duty status (RODS).

During on-duty driving periods, the location accuracy is approximately within a 1-mile radius. When a driver operates a CMV for personal use, the position reporting accuracy would be approximately within a 10-mile radius.

An ELD must be integrally synchronized with the engine of the commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Engine synchronization means monitoring engine operation to automatically capture the engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, and engine hours.

No, the ELD must be able to monitor engine operation to automatically capture required data. A GPS is not integrally synchronized with a vehicle’s engine, and cannot be a substitute for required ECM data to comply with the ELD rule.

Yes. FMCSA allows, but does not require, warning or notification to drivers when they are nearing their HOS limits.

An ELD must automatically switch to driving mode once the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is moving up to a set speed threshold of five miles per hour. As a result, the in-motion state must not be configured greater than five miles per hour. The vehicle will be considered stopped once its speed falls to zero miles per hour and stays at zero miles per hour for three consecutive seconds.

When the duty status is set to driving, and the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) has not been in motion for five consecutive minutes, the ELD must prompt the driver to confirm a continued driving status or enter the proper duty status. If the driver does not respond to the ELD prompt within one minute, the ELD must automatically switch the duty status to on-duty not driving.

Since all ELD data file output will be a standard comma-delimited file, a driver may import the data output file into Microsoft Excel, Word, notepad, or other common tools. A driver will also be able to access ELD records through a screen display or a printout, depending on the ELD design.

All miles driven are recorded, regardless of the status the driver has selected. However, when the personal conveyance status is selected (as allowed and configured by the motor carrier), the CMV’s location is recorded with a lower level of precision (i.e., an approximate 10-mile radius). Personal conveyance will be reflected on the ELD using a different style line (such as dashed or dotted line).

In the event of team drivers, the ELD must display the data for both co-drivers who are logged into the system.

Yes. The driver who is not operating the vehicle may make entries over his or her own records when the vehicle is in motion. However, co-drivers cannot switch driving roles on the ELD when the vehicle is in motion.

No. The ELD will capture all entered duty statuses, and there is no minimum amount of time that these statuses must or should be engaged. While longstanding industry and enforcement practices may have relied upon minimum intervals of 15 minutes in handwritten records of duty status (RODS), an ELD provides a more accurate accounting of drivers’ time. This should not be construed to indicate that the activities electronically recorded as less than 15 minutes are suspect, only that the time actually required to complete the task may be less that what had been traditionally noted in the paper RODS.

According to the ELD rule technical specifications, an ELD must support one of two options for electronic data transfer:

  • The first option is a “telematics” transfer type ELD. At a minimum, it must electronically transfer data to an authorized safety official on demand via wireless Web services and email.
  • The second option is a “local” transfer type ELD. At a minimum, it must electronically transfer data to an authorized safety official on demand via USB2.0 and Bluetooth®.

To ensure that law enforcement is always able to receive the hours of service (HOS) data during a roadside inspection, a driver must be able to provide either the display or a printout when an authorized safety official requests a physical display of the information.

Authorized safety officials who conduct roadside enforcement activities (i.e., traffic enforcement and inspections) or compliance safety investigations will have the option of choosing a minimum of one electronic data transfer method (wireless Web services or email) and one “local” electronic data transfer method (USB2.0 or Bluetooth) for the electronic transfer of ELD data, depending on the type of ELD.

If a driver is using a “local” ELD with USB 2.0 capabilities, an authorized safety official will provide a secure USB device to allow the driver to electronically transfer data from the ELD to the official. The driver will return the USB device to the safety official, who will transfer the data to a computing device.

If the driver is using a “telematics” ELD with email capabilities, the authorized safety official will request that the electronic data transfer file be sent as an attachment to an email from the driver to an email address that the safety official provides to the driver.

If the driver is using a “local” ELD with Bluetooth capabilities, the authorized safety official will activate Bluetooth on his or her computing device and the driver will initiate the Bluetooth electronic transfer of the data from the driver’s ELD to the safety official’s computing device. The official will provide a Bluetooth pairing code for the driver to enter into the ELD for the data file transfer.

If the driver is using a “telematics” ELD with wireless Web services capabilities, the authorized safety official will give the driver a routing code to assist the official in locating the data once transmitted, and the driver will initiate a web transfer to an FMCSA server to be retrieved by the safety official’s software.

No. If the electronic means for transferring data is unavailable or fails, the driver can still be compliant by showing either a printout or the actual ELD display of their RODS.

Yes. An ELD must monitor its compliance with the ELD technical requirements and detect malfunctions and data inconsistencies related to power, data synchronization, missing data, timing, positioning, data recording, data transfer, and unidentified driver records requirements. The ELD output will identify these data diagnostic and malfunction events and their status as either “detected” or “cleared.” Typically, a driver can follow the ELD provider’s and the motor carrier’s recommendations to resolve the data inconsistencies that generate an ELD data diagnostic event, while a motor carrier must correct a malfunction.

“Power data diagnostic events” occur when a ELD is not powered and fully functional within one minute of the vehicle’s engine receiving power and does not remain powered for as long as the vehicle’s engine stays powered.

“Power compliance malfunctions” occur when a ELD is not powered for an aggregated in-motion driving time of 30 minutes or more over a 24-hour period across all driver profiles.

“Engine synchronization data diagnostic events” occur when an ELD loses ECM connectivity to any of the required data sources (engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, and engine hours) and can no longer acquire updated values for the required ELD parameters within five seconds of the need.

“Engine synchronization compliance malfunctions” occur when ECM connectivity to any of the required data sources (engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, and engine hours) is lost for more than 30 minutes during a 24-hour period aggregated across all driver profiles.

A “timing compliance malfunction” occurs when the ELD can no longer meet the underlying compliance requirement to record Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), where ELD time must be synchronized with UTC, not to exceed an absolute deviation of 10 minutes at any time.

When an ELD fails to acquire a valid position measurement within 5 miles of the commercial motor vehicle moving and 60 minutes has passed, a “position compliance malfunction” will be recorded in the data diagnostic.

A “data recording compliance malfunction” occurs when an ELD can no longer record or retain required events or retrieve recorded logs that are not kept remotely by the motor carrier.

A “missing required data elements data diagnostic event” occurs when any required data field is missing at the time of its recording.

A “data transfer data diagnostic event” occurs when the operation of the data transfer mechanism(s) is not confirmed.

A “data transfer compliance” malfunction occurs when the ELD stays in the unconfirmed data transfer mode following the next three consecutive monitoring checks.

An “unidentified driving records data diagnostic event” occurs when more than 30 minutes of driving time for an unidentified driver is recorded within a 24-hour period.

If an ELD malfunctions, a driver must:

  • Note the malfunction of the ELD and provide written notice of the malfunction to the motor carrier within 24 hours;
  • Reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days, and record the records of duty status on graph-grid paper logs that comply with 49 CFR 395.8, unless the driver already has the records or retrieves them from the ELD;
  • Continue to manually prepare RODS in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8 until the ELD is serviced and back in compliance.

Please refer to Hutch ELD malfunction Manual for more detail.

If an ELD malfunctions, a motor carrier must:

  • Correct, repair, replace, or service the malfunctioning ELD within eight days of discovering the condition or a driver’s notification to the motor carrier, whichever occurs first; and
  • Require the driver to maintain paper record of duty status (RODS) until the ELD is back in service. Please refer to Hutch ELD malfunction Manual for more detail.

FMCSA recommends that drivers first certify their RODS before logging off the ELDs and then shutting down their CMVs’ engines. If drivers don’t follow this recommendation, malfunction codes may occur, such as indicating unaccounted odometer changes and suspicious driving activity.

An ELD must display a single visual malfunction indicator on the ELD’s display or on a stand-alone indicator for all drivers using the ELD. The visual signal must be visible to the driver, be continuously communicated to the driver when the ELD is powered, and clearly illuminate an active malfunction. An ELD must also display a single visual data diagnostics indicator, apart from the malfunction indicator, for active data diagnostics events. The ELD may also provide an audible signal for the data diagnostics indicator. Please refer to the Hutch ELD malfunction Manual for more detail.

ELD user accounts must be set up by a motor carrier for:

  • Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who are employed by the motor carrier and who are required to use the ELD, and
  • Support personnel who have been authorized by the motor carrier to create, remove, and manage user accounts; configure allowed ELD parameters; and access, review, and manage drivers’ ELD records on behalf of the motor carrier.

Yes. ELD user accounts can be created on individual ELDs or the ELD support system.

Each driver account must be created by entering the driver’s license number and the State of jurisdiction that issued the driver’s license. The driver’s license information is only required to set up the driver’s user account and verify his or her identity; it is not used as part of the daily process for entering duty status information.

A motor carrier must assign only one ELD driver account for each of its drivers required to use a ELD. An ELD must not allow the creation of more than one driver account associated with a driver’s license for a given motor carrier. The motor carrier is also responsible for establishing requirements for unique user identifications and passwords.

No. Each driver should have one account that allows him or her to log in and perform driver-related functions. All other administrative functions should be based on the discretion of each company or its provider. This means a driver who is also the owner of the company would have a single account authorizing entries as a driver, and a separate account for administrative functions. Accounts can be created on the Hutch ELD or the Hutch ELD back Portal.

Section 395.22(b)(2)(i) states that a motor carrier must manage ELD accounts. Therefore, the driver's license information must be updated in the ELD. If the data files from an individual’s old and new driver's license files cannot be merged, the driver must either manually enter the previous duty status information or provide a printout from the older HOS to provide an accurate accounting of the duty status for the current and previous seven days for authorized safety officials.

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