ELD’s Explained

By now you’ve probably heard of ELD’s and the changes that they will bring to the transportation industry but perhaps don’t understand the full implication of what that means to you as a shipper, consignee or third party.

About ELDs

An ELD is technology that automatically records a driver’s driving time and other hours-of-service (HOS) data. This allows easier, more accurate HOS recordkeeping. An ELD monitors a vehicle’s engine to capture data on whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and duration of engine operation (engine hours). During the first phase of the ELD rule, law enforcement can review a driver’s hours of service by viewing the ELD’s display screen or from an ELD printout.

All carriers and drivers subject to the ELD rule must use either an ELD or an AOBRD (automatic on-board recording devices compliant with existing regulations) by December 18, 2017. AOBRDs may be used until December 16, 2019, if the devices were put into use before December 18, 2017. Starting December 16, 2019, all carriers and drivers subject to the rule must use ELDs. ELDs must have the capability of either telematic data transfer or local transfer.


What is Changing

How drivers log their Hours of Service is changing.  Until now drivers have used paper logs and used more discretion around reporting their on and off hours.  For example if a driver had to wait for a shipper to load for 4 hours he might count some of those hours as “off” hours as he was not driving and could be resting.  Long haul drivers with sleeper cabs could take a nap during this time.

Under ELD logging drivers will be considered “on the clock” from the minute they start driving on a work day until they park the truck for the night.  Once the driver’s day is over they will be unable to start up and move the truck until their full off duty time is up.  The Hours of Service rule states  a driver “May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.” 

The ELD also means that a driver cannot move his truck to find breakfast or fuel during his 10 hour off duty time.

Drivers who violate the hours of service rules will now be automatically assessed a fine as their ELD will report these violations electronically.


What this means for your Supply Chain

Transit times will increase as drivers must adhere to the full 10 hours out of service prior to continuing each 24 hour period.  Drivers will have less flexibility to wait for customers to load and unload if they are near the end of their 14 hours on duty.  Drivers may have to park for 10 hours prior to making a delivery based on when their 14 hour day ends.

The implementation of ELD is also causing driver shortages as many drivers are opting not to travel to the US or are moving to different industries.  This is impacting capacity for carriers and 3PL’s to deliver service and is creating significant pressure around rates, causing costs to rise.

What’s next

The impact of ELD on the transportation industry remains to be seen. There have been many protests from drivers, carriers, shippers and even some lawmakers, but thus far the FMCSA has not indicated any willingness to back off of the Hours of Service rules or the use of ELD’s.


For more information we’d like to encourage you to watch the following  YouTube video to further understand the implications this new legislation will have on the supply chain. While every aspect of the video may not relate directly to you as a shipper or consignee, we are hopeful that this common-sense message will help all parties become more flexible and fulfill their responsibility to create a safe and efficient supply chain in an ELD world.