The ELD mandate is almost here. The deadline for ELD compliance is less than seven months away now.

So here is the big question: are you ready for it?

In case you already haven’t installed electronic logging devices, the ELD implementation process should not be delayed anymore. It’s a multi-step process to successfully transition to ELDs and delaying it any further will only increase panic and disturb your fleet’s operations.

Here is a quick rundown of what needs to be done.

Just treat the following items as a checklist. Tick all items off and you’d be all set for the December 18, 2017, ELD mandate deadline.

1. Identifying the ELD mandate deadline

The first item in this list is for making sure that you are fully aware of the ELD mandate deadline.

As per the FMCSA’s final ELD rule, eligible commercial motor vehicles should have registered ELDs installed by December 18, 2017. Beyond this date, non-ELD CMVs will not be in compliance with the ELD mandate.

There is one exception that extends this deadline by two years.

For CMVs which are using AOBRDs can install ELDs by December 16, 2019. This is also known as the “grandfather clause”.

The takeaway here is to understand the deadline that applies to your vehicle or fleet.

2. Understanding the ELD mandate exemptions

According to the ELD mandate, most commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) will need ELDs by December 18, 2017. However, there are a few exemptions.

If you fall into any of the following four exemptions, you may not need ELDs. When you are preparing for the ELD mandate, it is important to evaluate whether ELDs are mandatory for you or not.

Here are the exemptions:

  • Pre-2000 vehicles

Pre-2000 vehicles (which have manufacturing date before 2000) are exempt from the ELD mandate.

  • Drivers who do not maintain RODS

Drivers who do not maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) are exempt from the ELD mandate.

Note: Drivers who qualify for the short-haul exception are not required to maintain Record of Duty Status.

  • Drivers who maintain RODS for less than 8 days

It is not uncommon for short-haul drivers to drive beyond their limits. If they do it for less than 8 times in a 30-day period, it’s fine. However, if drivers breach the short-haul exception for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, they will require ELDs.

In other words, if drivers have to maintain RODS for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, they will need ELDs.

  • Driveaway-towaway operations

If you carry out drive-away-tow-away operations, you are exempt from the ELD mandate.

3. Finding the right ELD vendor

By now you must have established whether you need electronic logging devices or not. In case you find that you are eligible and will need ELDs by December 18, 2017, the next step would be to find the right ELD vendor.

There are a few things you need to consider before selecting an ELD vendor:

  • Price

Let’s face it. Price is an important factor when it comes to buying ELDs. If you have several vehicles in a fleet, the overall cost of ELDs can quickly add up. Make sure to pick up a cost-effective ELD solution.

Note: There are many ELD providers who charge hardware and installation charges in addition to the monthly fees. Make sure you know all the hidden prices before you buy ELDs.

  • Contract duration

Shorter contracts are much more lucrative and convenient for fleets. Some ELD manufacturers have contracts up to 3 to 5 years. You don’t want to get into such a long contract.

What if their devices can’t comply with upcoming requirements? What if the quality of their service fail to satisfy you?

Shortlist ELD vendors with the shortest lock-in contracts.

  • ELD Features

Apart from FMCSA compliance, ELDs are packed with powerful features to help fleets streamline their operations, minimize costs, and increase productivity. Make sure that the ELD solution you pick has at least the following features:

4. Choosing an FMCSA-registered ELD provider

Price, features, and contract duration are all important factors to consider when choosing an ELD provider. However, there is one more box you need to tick when finalizing the ELD implementation checklist.

The primary purpose of installing an ELD is to remain FMCSA compliant. If an ELD doesn’t fulfill all the compliance requirements, it is of no use to you.

The easiest way to make sure that you are selecting the right ELD solution is by only considering FMCSA-registered ELDs.

5. Installing and testing ELDs

You can’t be fully prepared for the upcoming ELD mandate if you haven’t installed and tested these electronic logging devices.

It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with how ELDs work before the deadline.

6. Developing a training program

Training is crucial to ELD implementation. Conduct holistic orientation and training sessions where drivers and administrative users can learn the proper use of ELDs.

This training program should include information on the following aspects:

  • Compliance requirements and processes
  • Supporting document requirements and processes
  • Operating ELDs
  • Proper editing of records
  • Understanding harassment and coercion rules
  • ELD data retention
  • ELD troubleshooting

7. Retaining ELD data

ELD data retention is a mandatory part of the new ELD mandate, effective from December 18, 2017, and it must be in your ELD implementation checklist.

For Hours-of-Service verification purposes, drivers and carriers are supposed to retain supporting documents in paper or digital format. All the supporting documents must be submitted by drivers and motor carriers should retain “not more than eight supporting documents for each 24-hour period that a driver is on duty.”

Additionally, carriers must retain original ELD information for at least six months. Click here for further details about the supporting documents.

Retaining ELD data can be confusing to some drivers and motor carriers. Therefore, it is highly recommended to include it in your routine before the ELD mandate deadline. After December 18, 2017, ELD data retention will be mandatory.


ELD implementation is a multi-step process. Fleets need to plan ahead; they can’t afford to wait until the very last moment. To summarize, here are the items you need to check off your list before December 18, 2017.

  • Identifying the ELD mandate deadline — Whether you need ELDs by December 18, 2017, or December 16, 2019.
  • Understanding ELD exemptions — The ELD mandate applies to most CMVs. However, there are a few exceptions. Make sure you know if you fall into those exemptions or not.
  • Finding the right ELD vendor — You need to look into factors such as price, contract duration, features, and availability of easy-to-use mobile apps.
  • Choosing an FMCSA-registered ELD provider — Not every ELD in the market guarantees compliance. Only select from FMCSA-registered ELDs.
  • Installing and testing ELDs — Electronic logging devices must be installed and tested well ahead of the deadline.
  • Developing a training program — Developing a training program to help drivers and fleet managers get familiarize with how ELDs work.
  • Retaining ELD data — ELD data retention is mandatory as per the ELD mandate. Retaining ELD data should be in practice while it is optional. The entire process of submitting documents, collecting data, and retaining information must be streamlined before December 18, 2017.

Checking these items off will give you the head start you need to edge ahead of your competitors and stay compliant with the FMCSA’s latest ELD rule. If you have any questions regarding the ELD mandate or the ELD implementation process, please contact our support team.

Motive and ELD implementation

Request a free demo of the Motive ELD to experience how the Motive ELD solution will help you stay compliant, streamline fleet operations, reduce cost, and maximize productivity.