In this blog post, we list the top 17 ELD mandate compliance questions (and their answers) to help fleet managers, carriers, and drivers.

Let’s begin.

Common compliance questions

1. What is meant by ELD mandate compliance?

Although the ELD mandate is a comprehensive document, let’s simplify what it means for commercial drivers and carriers.

The ELD mandate compliance means that after December 18, 2017, eligible commercial vehicles and fleets will need to use compliant and certified electronic logging devices or ELDs to record their Hours of Service and duty statuses, etc.

2. Who must comply with the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate applies to most commercial motor vehicles in the United States of America. According to an estimate, the mandate applies to over 3.5 million truckers.

To keep it simple, if a driver fills a logbook, they would require ELDs.

There are also some exceptions. If you do not belong to any of the following exemptions, you need to comply with the final ELD rule.

3. Who is exempt from complying with the ELD mandate?

The ELD mandate does not apply to:

  • Vehicles with pre-2000 model engines
  • Towaway drivers
  • Short-haul drivers who do not maintain RODS
  • Short-haul drivers who maintain RODS for no more than 8 days in any 30-day period.

Further reading: Why are so many short-haul fleets installing ELDs?

4. What are the key ELD mandate compliance requirements?

Installing ELDs isn’t enough. To become 100% compliant, you need to make sure you fulfill all the requirements of the ELD mandate, which are:

  • All commercial vehicles must install compliant ELDs, provided that they don’t qualify for an exemption
  • All ELDs must conform to the design and technical standards set by the FMCSA
  • The ELDs must be certified
  • The ELD data must be shared with the safety officials and law enforcing authorities on demand
  • Drivers and carriers must keep supporting documents for a period stipulated in the mandate

5. Are all ELDS in the market fully compliant?

No. Not all ELDs in the market are fully compliant ELD solutions.

You’ll have to make sure that the ELD solution you’re purchasing fulfills all the requirements set by the FMCSA.

6. How to check if an ELD is compliant and certified?

The FMCSA’s list of self-certified ELDs is a good place to start your research. If an ELD solution isn’t on the list of certified ELDs, it won’t be compliant.

To check whether the ELD you are buying is compliant with the mandate or not, visit the FMCSA’s list of certified ELDs.

7. What do I do if my ELD turns out to be non-compliant?

After the deadline, if you realize that your ELD solution isn’t compliant, you’ll have eight days to replace it with a compliant solution.

8. What do I do if my ELD needs to be repaired?

After the deadline, if any of your ELD gets broken or needs to be repaired or serviced, you will have eight days to do that.

In case a particular ELD vendor has a widespread issue, the FMCSA will work with affected motor carriers to establish a reasonable timeframe.

9. What are the penalties imposed under the ELD mandate for noncompliance?

The penalties for noncompliance are under consideration. The FMCSA will soon release details on the penalties for noncompliance.

10. Is there any tool to check whether the output file generated by an ELD is compliant with the mandate standards or not?

The FMCSA has recently introduced an online file validator tool. Now, you can check whether the output files your ELDs are generating are compliant or not.

11. Is using mobile e-log apps enough for compliance?

No. Per the ELD mandate, the ELD must be a hardware device that connects with the engine of the vehicle.

E-logs apps are often used for display purposes, which is also an important aspect. However, an e-log mobile app that isn’t paired with an engine-connected electronic logging device won’t be enough for compliance.

12. Are cellular-based ELDs a compliance risk?

Yes, cellular-based ELDs are a compliance risk, and the FMCSA has recently confirmed this.

If drivers are operating in an area with spotty or no cellular coverage, the data won’t be properly synced, which would make drivers noncompliant. The FMCSA recommends an ELD system that relies on Bluetooth and USB connections for relaying the data between drivers’ mobile apps and engine-connected ELDs.

Note: Motive ELDs do not just rely on cellular connections. Motive ELDs use a reliable Bluetooth connection for data syncing. We have also added USB connectivity for Android devices. USB connectivity for iOS devices is coming soon.

13. Does ELD mandate compliance include rented and leased vehicles too?

Yes. When rented and leased vehicles are carrying out commercial operations, they need to install ELDs. However, if they qualify for one or more of the ELD mandate exemptions, they don’t need an electronic logging device.

14. Do Canada and Mexico-domiciled drivers need to become compliant with the U.S. ELD mandate?

Yes. When Canada and Mexico commercial vehicles operate under the jurisdiction of the United States, they will have to abide by the local ELD mandate — unless they qualify for an ELD mandate exemption.

15. Can I use AOBRDs for ELD mandate compliance?

You can use AOBRDs and stay compliant until December 2019.

You can also buy Motive ELDs and use them as AOBRDs until December 2019. After that, you can simply turn off the AOBRD settings in your web dashboard and continue using the devices as fully compliant ELD solutions.

16. Can I use AOBRDs after December 2019?

As per the ELD mandate, vehicles with AOBRDs don’t have to install ELDs until December 16, 2019. However, after that deadline, they will require fully compliant and certified ELD solutions just like everybody else.

In other words, you cannot use AOBRDs after December 2019. You will require ELDs to stay compliant.

17. Does the ELD mandate also apply to owner-operators?

The ELD mandate applies to owner-operators, small fleets, and large fleets. Unless you qualify for any of the ELD mandate exemptions, the size of the fleet does not matter. The ELD mandate applies to everyone.

Still have ELD mandate compliance questions?

Discover the benefits and features of ELDs. If you still have ELD mandate compliance questions, call 844-325-9230 or send us an email at