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Trucking’s ELD Mandate — Part 2: The WHEN and the WHY

March 2, 2016 By: Jeff Swan, HNI Tags: Blogs, Regulations

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a two-part blog series that addresses the basics and alleviate the concerns of anyone who is confused by the new ELD mandate.

Earlier, we discussed the WHO and the WHAT of these regulations that apply to motor carriers and drivers required to keep records of duty status under the current hours of service (HOS) regulations.

Today, we discuss the when and the why:

The FMCSA’s final rule was published on Dec. 16, 2015, and became effective on Feb. 16, 2016. The rule is being implemented in three phases.

Phase 1 is the two-year period following publication of the ELD rule, from now through Dec. 18, 2017. During this time, carriers and drivers subject to the rule should prepare to comply and may voluntarily use ELDs. Carriers and drivers subject to the rule can use any of the following for records of duty status (RODS):

  • Paper logs
  • Logging software
  • AOBRDS (Automatic Onboard Recording Devices)
  • ELDs that are registered and listed on the FMCSA website

Phase 2 is the two-year period from the compliance date (Dec. 18, 2017) to the full compliance phase (Dec. 16, 2019). Carriers and drivers subject to the rule can use the following for RODS:

  • AOBRDS that were installed prior to Dec. 18, 2017
  • ELDs that are certified and registered following rule publication (Dec. 16, 2015)

In the third phase — after Dec. 16, 2019 — all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use certified, registered ELDs that comply with the requirements of the ELD regulations.

The WHEN of the mandate is designed to allow for ample preparation time and appropriate training for users on every side of the ELD equation. The bottom line: There is no rush. Evaluate your options and determine the best WHEN for your situation.

And now for the why:

Agatha Christie once said, “The why must never be obvious. That’s the whole point.” I’m sure that many readers would prefer the status quo, but we must keep pace with technology and move forward with new ways of doing things. The ELD mandate is no exception.

According to FMCSA, “ELDs make tracking hours-of-service (HOS) easier and more accurate. This helps prevent both deliberate and unintentional HOS violations and helps drivers avoid fines due to mistakes in paper logs. Improved compliance with HOS rules helps ensure drivers have time for adequate rest and to operate commercial vehicles safely. More accurate and consistent HOS records also facilitate enforcement and support carrier business operations, such as effective dispatching.”

Whether you agree with FMCSA’s assertion or not, the ELD mandate is here to stay. Hopefully it will result in a safer transportation system and ultimately level the playing field for everyone moving freight. Like any change that is forced upon us, we must first digest and understand what is to come, and then do what is required of us in order to move forward.

Education is essential in these uncharted waters, and HNI is offering two opportunities for those who are unprepared, or just want to brush up on the basics. Join us on March 22 or March 23 for a full-day workshop covering basic DOT compliance.

The March 22 course covers basic DOT compliance for those who find themselves under these regulations, but don’t consider themselves a conventional motor carrier. It will include a review of compliance requirements as well as updates on the new ELD and driver coercion rules.

The March 23 workshop is for the true motor carrier and will include a review of basic DOT compliance requirements as well as updates on the new ELD and driver coercion rules.

Both workshops can serve as a refresher course for experienced personnel, or as an introductory course for those new to the industry.

About the Author: Jeff Swan is HNI’s compliance specialist at HNI and a retired Wisconsin State patrolman. During his 34 years with the State Patrol, Jeff focused on helping truck fleets navigate complex regulations. At HNI, Jeff focuses bringing solutions to the table. To read more of his blogs, visit


  1. Frank Goodwin March 8, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Just another way to try and force the independent out. Wonder what lobbyists and congressman are making money off this rule?