Electronic logging devices capture hours of driver service, downtime and other data.

Effective in December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is mandating the use of an electronic logging device (ELD) for commercial vehicles.

Businesses with regulated commercial vehicles that require hours-of-service logging must replace paper logbooks with a self-certified ELD registered with FMCSA that electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). Such fleets have until December 2017 to comply. Fleets that already use Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRD) have until December 2019 to convert to a self-certified ELD registered with FMCSA.


These devices do not change any current requirement affecting the longstanding Hours of Service rules; they simply are a method to electronically capture the data. These devices also can capture a significant amount of other data, including inspection and fuel tax information and driving behavior such as speeding, idling and hard braking.

Many fleets have already transitioned to the ELD and have seen benefits ranging from increased safety performance to more efficient dispatch and reduced paperwork.

The FMCSA website has a list of self-certified providers of these devices. Managers of fleets that need to comply with this mandate should consult this site to determine if the devices they are considering are on the list. Smartphones and tablets are acceptable, as long as they meet the FMCSA’s requirements.


So what should you do if your fleet has not already met the mandate?

  • Determine if the current Hours of Service (HOS) rules require logs.
  • If the answer is “no,” no further action is required.
  • If the answer is “yes,” the company must:
    • Evaluate and select an ELD. The ELD must meet the regulations; find providers using the above link
    • Ensure ELDs are properly installed and functioning.
    • Properly train drivers and administrative staff to use them. Drivers should be able to edit and certify the time.
    • Companies may not use the system to coerce or harass a driver regarding HOS regulations.
  • Drivers need to know how to:
    • Edit and certify the RODS
    • Display/transfer the information to a compliance officer, if requested.

This may appear to be a confusing and daunting undertaking, but many resources are available to help meet the compliance deadline. Consult your attorney for specific legal guidance. Companies that fail to comply with the mandate are subject to being placed out of service. Continued noncompliance could result in the Department of Transportation issuing a shutdown order.

Policyholders of The Cincinnati Insurance Company can request fleet management loss control services by contacting their agent. Cincinnati agents with fleet accounts can request assistance through their Cincinnati loss control representative.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Neither The Cincinnati Insurance Company nor its affiliates or representatives offer legal advice. Consult with your attorney about your specific situation.

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