For a property-carrying driver, there is an 11-hour driving limit in which the driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. (Resource: Summary of Hours of Service Regulations)

For passenger-carrying drivers, there is a 10-hour driving limit in which the driver may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty. (Resource: Summary of Hours of Service Regulations)


The ELD Rule:

  • ELD must be used by commercial drivers who are required to prepare Hours-of-Service (HOS) Records of Duty Status (RODS).
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA.
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep.
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as the fleet management system). The rule also provides resources for drivers who believe they have been harassed.

Section 32301(b) of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, enacted as part of MAP-21, (Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405. 786-788, July 6, 2012), mandates the ELD rule. It requires the Secretary of Transportation to implement regulations requiring the usage of ELDs in Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) involved in interstate commerce, when operated by drivers who are required to keep Records of Duty Status (RODS).

The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS) per Part 295, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers.

The ELD rule allows limited exceptions, including the following:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for less than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away or tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

Yes. The user’s manual, instruction sheet, and malfunction instruction sheet can all be digital. This is in accordance with the federal register titled “Regulatory Guidance Concerning Electronic Signatures and Documents” (76 FR 411).

Yes. An ELD can be on a smartphone or other wireless device under the condition that the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications.

Yes. A driver may use a portable ELD. However, the portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) operation and visible to the drive from a normal seated driving position. This information can be found in the ELD Rule section 395.22(g).

Beginning on December 18th, 2017, a driver using an ELD must have an ELD information packet onboard the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) containing the following items:

  • A user’s manual for the driver describing how to operate the ELD;
  • An instruction sheet describing the data transfer mechanisms supported by the ELD and step-by-step instructions to produce and transfer the driver’s hours-of-service records to an authorized safety official;
  • An instruction sheet for the driver describing ELD malfunction reporting requirements and recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; and

A supply of blank driver’s Records of Duty Status (RODS) graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for a minimum of 8 days. Prior to December 18th, 2017, FMCSA recommends that drivers have the user’s manual, malfunction instruction sheet, and graph-grids.

A motor carrier must keep ELD Record of Duty Status (RODS) data and back-up data for six months. The back-up copy of ELD records must be maintained on a device separate from where the original data is stored. Additionally, a motor carrier must retain a driver’s ELD records in a manner that protects driver privacy.


The motor carrier is responsible for checking that their device is registered. This includes checking both the registration and revocation list periodically. The list of registered and revoked ELDs are regularly updated on the FMCSA website.

Yes, a motor carrier operation a vehicle with a manufactured model year of 2000 and newer and without an ECM is subject to the ELD rule. If the current engine does not support an ECM and is unable to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters, then the operator must use an ELD that does not rely on ECM connectivity, but nevertheless meets the accuracy requirements of the final rule.

The driver can either, (1) print our their hours-of-service from other motor carrier, (2) if operating with compatible devices the ELD data can be transferred between the motor carriers with the driver’s approval, or (2) manually add the hours of service while operating for that motor carrier into the current ELD using the editing and annotation functions of the ELD.

Section 395.8(j)(2) provides that “(2) Motor carriers, when using a driver for the first time or intermittently, shall obtain from the drive a signed statement giving the total time on duty during the immediately preceding 7 days and the time at which the driver was last relieved from duty prior to beginning work for the motor carriers.” Alternatively, the driver may present copies of the prior 7 days’ records of duty status or a print-out of the prior 7 days from the prior carrier’s ELD system.


There are two types of automatically generated data to follow DOT regulations:

  • The first is Automatic Driving Status (Auto Driving), when the work record is in either ON, OFF, or SB mode, the ELD system will begin to automatically generate a driving record when the vehicle exceeds 5 mph for more than 30 seconds.
  • Automatic On Duty (Auto On Duty), when the work record is in a driving state (DR), the ELD will automatically switch to an On Duty state if the vehicle stays in idle for more than 5 minutes. If the driver does not interfere within 30 seconds, the ELD system will automatically generate an On Duty record.