The Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Confused about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate?

Omnitracs is here to help. As the pioneer of vehicle telematics with over 25 years of experience, we are committed to bringing you the latest information from industry experts on the ELD mandate, what it means for fleet operations, and how to leverage this new piece of legislation for maximum benefit.

What is the ELD mandate?

In 2012, the United States Congress enacted the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, more commonly referred to as MAP-21. That bill, which also outlined the criteria for highway funding, included a provision requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs).  The ELD Mandate is the culmination of that provision.

In its simplest form, an electronic logging device — or ELD — is used to electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), which replaces the paper logbook some drivers currently use to record their compliance with FMCSA Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.

Does the ELD mandate apply to all fleets?

The ELD Mandate dictates that drivers must use an ELD if they are required to keep Records of Duty Status (RODS). The FMCSA estimates 3 million vehicles and 3.4 million drivers fall under this ruling.

How do I know if I need to file Record of Duty Status (RODS)?

Most drivers must follow HOS regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle. If you are involved in interstate commerce, you must comply with HOS regulations if:

  • Your vehicle is 10,001 pounds or more
  • Your vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Your vehicle is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Your vehicle is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Your vehicle is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

What if the mandate doesn’t apply to me?

It is key to remember that although the FMCSA has outlined certain exemptions, ELD technology is not just about compliance. Those who are not required to implement ELDs can still realize the same benefits as those who are mandated to adopt.

The FMCSA weighed a variety of criteria prior to making a decision around the mandate, and outlined key benefits of adopting ELD solutions. With electronic driver logs, fleets can:

  • Build a culture of safety around your trucking fleet, compared to “just enough” compliance. E-Logs give safety managers the tools they need to understand all areas of compliance. Safety managers and dispatchers can work together on loads that are within HOS requirements. Drivers can be alerted when low drive or on-duty time is near
  • Start immediately building ROI: slash fuel costs, drastically reduce paperwork, increase driver communication, and charge for detention time
  • Reduce major violations, including Form and Manner, which are the most frequent violations.
  • Accurately account for all aspects of the business, including on-duty and drive time, enabling fleet managers to identify where time may be leaking from current processes

How can FMCSA electronic logs save fleets money?

Based on assumptions stated by the FMCSA in its Regulatory Impact Analysis for ELDs, switching from paper logs for truck drivers to electronic driver logs can lead to the following savings per driver per year:

  • Driver Filling RODS: $487
  • Driver Submitting RODS: $56
  • Clerk Filing RODS: $120
  • Elimination of paper driver log books: $42

That’s a total of $705 per year in just paperwork savings alone – and that’s a conservative estimate.

In addition to the positive financial impacts, the paperwork reduction leads to more miles on the road, which equals more money for both drivers and fleets.

How can ELDs save drivers time?

  • Reduce HOS paperwork time by 15 minutes a day
  • Add another 5 – 10 hours a week of drive time by rounding to the nearest minute for stops (unlike paper logbooks which require drivers to round up to the nearest 15 minutes)
  • Reduce time spent on tedious check-calls and sending hours to dispatch
  • Reduce the amount of paperwork, allowing drivers to get burdensome tasks off of their plates and focus on doing what they do best—driving.

The hidden truth about ELD costs (ROI)

Many in the industry may be resistant to ELDs, thinking that they increase operating costs and cut into already tight profit margins. The truth though, is the cost of an ELD investment is very small compared to other operating expenses such as fuel, insurance, equipment, and permitting costs. While ROI depends on many factors, most fleets see positive ROI within a year, and substantial financial gains in the long term.

Omnitracs offers the most comprehensive set of solutions to ensure fleets get the most out of the Electronic Logging Device mandate 

Omnitracs has many products that can help fleets maximize the benefits of ELD technology, regardless of whether or not they are required to comply with the mandate.


Maximize vehicle and driver performance to increase margins and reduce costs.


Reduce business disruption from violations by staying ahead of new and changing regulations.

Planning + Delivery

Improve customer service while lowering fleet costs by planning and optimizing efficient delivery routes.

Data + Analytics

Make intelligent business decisions by leveraging big data.

Safety + Security

Ensure assets are sound and drivers adhere to high safety standards.

The Omnitracs Difference

Through our extensive range of applications, Omnitracs offers benefits that other, less innovative companies cannot match. 

Accident Severity Model

Omnitracs Analytics’ Accident Severity Model enables fleets to leverage hours of service data to predict and prevent severe accidents. With only this feed, from any service provider, we can predict those drivers most at risk of a high-severity, high-cost, loss-of-control accident — allowing for timely intervention.


Many less experienced and less innovative telematics providers focus only on meeting the minimum requirements set by law. At Omnitracs, we realize the true value in any solution is to go beyond simple compliance. Omnitracs has long been regarded as the leader in productivity solutions, enabling fleets to get the most out of this new technology.  Read More


Customer Service

There have been many telematics providers entering the market in recent years looking to capitalize on the Electronic Logging Device mandate. However, they have employed a “transactional” type of business model, where they heavily invest in customer acquisition, but do little to ensure customer success. These newcomers do not have the expertise to support change, whereas Omnitracs experts enable fleets to capitalize on the latest industry innovations and changes to regulatory landscape.

In our first month of total Hours of Service implementation, internal audits found 596 total over-hour violations. Eight months later, the number of similar audit findings had dropped to 145. That’s a 75% decrease. The improvement is staggering.

Dennis Dellinger
President, Cargo Transporters

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