What Are ELDs?

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) digitally record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), replacing paper logbooks. They track and record regulated drivers’ compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements to ensure operations adhere to proper safety standards. Get guidance and resources below from the compliance experts at Omnitracs.

An ELD is an electronic solution that enables professional truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to easily track HOS compliance. All CDL drivers required to keep a Record of Duty Status (RODS) must use an ELD to document their compliance with HOS rules.

The new ELD rule adds certain technical and performance specifications that define exactly what the device must feature. For example, an ELD must:

  • Connect to the truck’s engine to record if the truck is in motion.
  • Allow the driver to log in and select On-duty, Off-duty, Drive or Sleeper Berth; drive segments must be automatically selected based on vehicle movement.
  • Graphically display a Record of Duty Status, so a driver can quickly see hours in a day.
  • Provide data in a format that’s standardized and can be transmitted to law enforcement in a number of prescribed ways, such as wireless web services, USB, or Bluetooth.
  • Be provider-certified that the device meets the proper specifications.

Benefits of Electronic Logging Devices

Decreased Fuel Costs

By monitoring excessive truck idle times or speeding events, fleets can build incentive programs for truck drivers that help increase fuel efficiency..

Simplified Regulatory Compliance

While complying with the ELD Mandate, other regulations can also be easily satisfied, including Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and IFTA.

Saved Time and Money

For drivers who use ELDs, ELD manufacturers report an increase of 15 minutes of drive time per driver per day, which translates into big monetary savings.


Here are some important FAQs about ELDs. If you have additional questions,
take a look at our Electronic Logging Device Mandate FAQs page.

What Is the Canadian ELD Mandate?

The Canadian ELD Mandate is a Final Rule released by Transport Canada that effectively replaces paper logs and requires federally regulated carriers to equip their vehicles with compliant, third-party certified ELDs. It was released on June 13, 2019. ELD devices in Canada must be 1) compliant with Technical Standards, which are compliance standards published in the Canadian ELD Mandate, and 2) be certified by an accredited third party.

Which Devices Can Serve as Part of ELDs?

ELD software can be on a smartphone, tablet, portable device, or another wireless device as long as the software meets technical standards laid out in the U.S. and Canadian ELD Mandates. Any driver using a portable ELD must mount it in a fixed position visible from their normal seated position. It must remain mounted for the entirety of the time the driver is operating the vehicle.

Who Is Required to Have an ELD?

The Canadian ELD Mandate is a Final Rule released by Transport Canada requiring federally regulated carriers to equip certain commercial motor vehicles with a third-party certified ELD. Federally regulated carriers are those providing extra-provincial transportation and U.S.-based motor carriers operating in Canada. Covered vehicles include those registered at a gross vehicle weight greater than 4,500 kg and currently require the driver to use a logbook. Basic HOS rules did not change with the mandate.

What Is the U.S. ELD Mandate?

The U.S. ELD Mandate is a federal government regulation that requires commercial drivers to use ELDs to record their Hours of Service (HOS). The Mandate has also established ELD performance and design standards, requires ELDs to be certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and establishes supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep with them. It also formally prohibits driver harassment regarding ELD data or connected technology and offers assistance to drivers who believe they are victims of harassment.

ELD Mandates: Canada vs the U.S.

Interested in learning more about the differences between ELD mandates in the U.S. versus Canada? Take a look at these facts and resources.

ELD Mandates in Canada

On June 12, 2019, Transport Canada — the Canadian government’s department responsible for developing transportation regulations and policies — released an amendment to the Commercial Vehicle Drivers HOS Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The amendment mandates that federally-regulated motor carriers and drivers maintaining daily paper logs for recording HOS will need to replace those paper logs with ELDs that have been tested and certified by an accredited, third-party certification body.

The effective date for the Canadian ELD Mandate is June 12, 2021, and it reflects the date when the regulations take effect. However, based on CCMTA’s recommendations, enforcement of the mandate will initially be in the form of education and awareness. Extra-provincial motor carriers and drivers should follow the guidance provided by each of the provinces and territories during this interim period.

ELD Facts

  • Similar to the underlying purpose of the ELD regulations adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Canadian ELD rules standardize processes to prevent errors, logbook tampering, and driver harassment.
  • Except for the addition of the ELD and other amendments, HOS regulations for commercial drivers in Canada remain mostly intact.
  • The amendment will require replacing paper logs and upgrading existing electronic recording devices with a regulation-compliant ELD device that connects directly to the engine ECM.
  • ELD devices in Canada will require compliance with the technical standards maintained by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and must be certified by an accredited third party. This is unlike the U.S. ELD Mandate which allowed ELD providers to self-certify their devices. U.S.-based carriers who operate in Canada will need to verify the devices they use to meet the U.S. ELD Mandate are also certified through the third-party, accredited certification process in Canada.
  • The final Canadian ELD Amendment, as published on June 12, 2019, does not contain a grandfather clause allowing for the continued use of an existing electronic recording device beyond the compliance time of June 12, 2021.
  • Canada will likely not approve exemptions to the same extent the U.S. has. As previously stated, the Canadian HOS regulations remain mostly untouched. The exceptions from the requirement for a commercial motor vehicle to be equipped with a certified ELD device are:
  • When being operated under a permit;
  • While being operated by a carrier to which an exemption has been issued under the Motor Vehicle Transport Act;
  • Subject to a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days that is not an extended or renewed rental of the same vehicle; or
  • When operating a commercial motor vehicle manufactured before model year 2000

ELD Mandates in the U.S.

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 ELDs.

Fleets had until December 2017 to implement certified ELDs to record HOS. Fleets that were already equipped with Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) before December 2017 had until December 16, 2019, to ensure compliance with the published specifications.

As of December 16, 2019, unless otherwise exempt from the requirements for using an ELD while operating a commercial motor vehicle, all U.S. commercial vehicle drivers are required to use an ELD to maintain their RODS.

What is an ELD and Why Do I Need One?

Now that you know what electronic logging devices are and what the ELD mandates are for your country, discover how ELDs can benefit you and your truck drivers.

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