ELD Timeline Explained

It may seem like there's plenty of time to go until the FMCSA's final ELD Mandate deadline on December 16 2019, but there are other important dates and deadlines in the three-and-a-half years before then.

However, let's not get ahead of ourselves Ð it's just as important to look at where the mandate began. We've put together this timeline and the accompanying graphic as the ultimate resource for fleet managers and owners.

The origins of ELDs

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles first started using ELDs (electronic logging devices) in the 1980s. Early adopters tended to be private motor carriers and the first systems operated on batch processing, where all the information is collected and held until being processed as a batch at the end of a specific cycle.

There was no real-time mobile communication of the data Ð and some of these outdated systems are still in service today.

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First attempts at mandating electronic logs

The idea of a federal mandate on electronic logging devices goes back to the early 1990s, with initial suggestions being incentive based.

Then in April 2010, CFR 395.16 was announced in the Federal Register. This rule drew the distinction between old devices (Automatic On-Board Recording Device or AOBRDs) and newer technology (Electronic Onboard Recording Devices or EOBRs). However, this never became law as it was shut down by the US Court of Appeals.

Congress passes MAP-21

Two years later the US Congress passes the MAP-21 Act, which requires the FMCSA to write a rule mandating electronic logging devices Ð this is when the term ELD is born. It replaces the older terms Ð AOBRDs and EOBRs Ð with the aim of avoiding confusion around the correct terminology.

Final mandate published

Fast-forward another few years to December 2015, when the FMCSA publishes its ELD Final Rule: the ELD Mandate. The mandate outlines the timeline for compliance, with a final deadline at the end of 2019. It also specifies the required information vendors must gather from any vehicle manufactured in 2000 and later and includes anti-harassment measures for current ELD users.

Going forward

In an effort to make compliance as straightforward a process as possible, the FMCSA has set a number of deadlines that for-hire and private motor carriers must meet. AOBRDs are still allowed in the first phase, but all new devices installed by fleet managers and owners must comply with ELD Mandate standards. This phase ends in December 2017. After that, all AOBRDs must be replaced with certified ELDs.