ELD Compliance

What is ELD Compliance?

ELD compliance refers to complying with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate by installing compliant Electronic Logging Devices.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires most commercial motor vehicle drivers to install a compliant ELD solution. Carriers and drivers can be fined, and even put out of service, if they don’t comply with the ELD mandate.

What is the ELD compliance date?

After December 16, 2019, all non-exempt drivers are required to install FMCSA-compliant ELD solutions.

Initially, the ELD compliance timeline was divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Awareness and Transition started from February 16, 2016, and encouraged drivers and carriers to install ELDs or AOBRDs on a voluntary basis.
  • Phase 2: Compliance ran from December 18, 2017, to December 16, 2019. During this phase, non-exempt drivers were required to install a compliant ELD solution. They could also continue to use AOBRDs if the devices were installed before December 18, 2017.
  • Phase 3: Full ELD compliance started from December 16, 2019, and requires all non-exempt commercial drivers and carriers to only use FMCSA-compliant ELDs. AOBRDs no longer help with ELD mandate compliance.

Drivers who are exempt from the ELD mandate may not need a compliant ELD solution. They can use other methods to record their Hours of Service data. However, they should keep proper documentation to support their exclusion from the ELD rule.

What is the ELD compliance checklist for drivers?

To ensure ELD compliance, drivers must at least do the following:

  • Determine if they are covered by the ELD mandate. If they qualify for the ELD mandate, they should understand the ELD compliance requirements and install a compliant ELD solution.
  • Understand how to guard themselves against harassment and coercion and file a complaint. Carriers are forbidden to coerce and harass drivers into doing something that violates the Hours of Service regulations or forces them to drive when they are not supposed to. Drivers must report instances of coercion or harassment within 90 days to the National Consumer Complaint Database or the FMCSA Division Administration for the state the driver is employed in.
  • Learn to use ELDs through company-provided or vendor-led training, operations manuals, and other resources. Drivers must learn how to log in, document duty status changes, edit records, and perform other essential actions.
  • Continually submit supporting documentation. Drivers must submit all the supporting documents to their motor carriers and Record of Duty Status (RODS) no later than 13 days after receiving them. Supporting documents include:

    • Dispatch and trip records
    • Expense receipts
    • Payroll records
    • Fleet management system communication records
    • Bills of lading, schedules, and itineraries


Each supporting document must include the date, location, time, and driver’s name or identification number.

What is the ELD compliance checklist for carriers?

Carriers must do the following to comply with the ELD rule:

  • Identify and process the essential ELD requirements for carriers and drivers. Carriers should first establish whether or not they are exempt from the ELD mandate. If they are exempt, they should keep supporting documentation to prove that. 
  • Select, install, and test manufacturer-certified ELDs registered on the FMCSA website. If carriers qualify for the ELD mandate, they must install an FMCSA-compliant ELD solution. Carriers should then create accounts for their drivers, administrative personnel, and other ELD users, as per the guidelines.
  • Develop and conduct ELD user training. Carriers must provide training to drivers, fleet managers, and other related personnel on how to operate the ELD device to record, certify, and share Hours of Service data. 
  • Keep required supporting documents. The carriers should ensure their drivers have with them the required in-vehicle information, including the ELD user’s manual, instruction sheet on reporting ELD malfunction, and recordkeeping procedures when they encounter ELD malfunctions, an instruction sheet for transferring Hours of Service data, or records when asked by safety officials, etc.

What are the penalties for ELD non-compliance?

Penalties for ELD mandate violations can range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. The North American Transportation Association notes that fines for violating the FMCSR 49 CFR 395.8(a) averages to $2,867, with the highest recorded amount at $13,680.

Non-exempt drivers without compliant ELDs may also be placed out-of-service and be  prohibited from being dispatched on their next assignments until they’ve fulfilled the requirements.