A Comprehensive Guide to Electronic Logging Devices

ELDs synchronize with your truck’s engine to automatically record driving time for more accessible, accurate hours of service (HOS) compliance. They also help with IFTA fuel tax reporting, driver-vehicle inspection reports, and more.

The robust reporting of most ELD systems reveals opportunities to increase efficiency and cost savings across your fleet. 

How They Work

ELDs (also known as ELogs) are DOT-certified electronic hardware that connects to your vehicle’s engine and automatically records truck driver hours of service. The FMCSA’s ELD mandate requires many regional and long-haul drivers to use these devices for interstate travel.

An ELD system helps fleet owners comply with FMCSA guidelines and improves fleet safety. However, how do they work, and who needs them? This comprehensive guide will answer these questions and more.

In addition to recording HOS data, ELDs also record engine and movement information to help fleet managers optimize their operations. By automating this data, ELDs eliminate the need for drivers to log their activities manually and can help businesses save time and money on administrative costs. Trucking companies that switch to ELDs can also gain a competitive advantage by using real-time location data to share driver locations with broker apps, earning them more per load.


The primary function of an ELD is to record driving time to help commercial truckers comply with federal regulations on hours of service (HOS). However, the best ELD solutions go beyond that basic functionality by offering added capabilities such as vehicle and driver location tracking.

Many drivers who are against implementing ELDs claim that they cost them money. It is true that under paper logs, a conscientious driver may have been able to pass by the sardine tin of a truck stop or end their drive slightly early to reset their HOS and avoid going over. With e-logs, however, all this wiggle room is gone.

Additionally, current ELDs can edit and annotate records, making them much harder to falsify. As a result, the use of ELDs can streamline roadside DOT inspections and save drivers both time and hassle. They also allow dispatchers to create more accurate routes. Moreover, they can enable proactive fleet maintenance by displaying engine faults.


Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, are hardware tools that help truck drivers and fleet managers track Hours of Service. They plug into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) port and pull data directly from the engine to automatically record engine status, movement, and miles driven.

Depending on the device, it may capture driver actions and engine faults. Often, modern ELDs have GPS capabilities to provide live, up-to-the-second location information.

While there are some concerns about the cost of ELDs, the FMCSA’s ELD mandate requires all motor carriers and owner-operators to install them in their vehicles. Moreover, the technology offers many other benefits to trucking companies beyond complying with the HOS regulations. For example, an ELD solution can eliminate the need for paper logbooks, improve trucker safety by reducing driver fatigue, and reduce maintenance costs through engine fault reporting.


ELDs synchronize with the truck’s engine to automatically record driving time, eliminating the need for manual HOS logging. They also provide truck drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers real-time visibility into available hours and compliance risks.

The ELD mandate requires using a certified electronic logging device in all motor carriers operating trucks subject to federal Hours of Service regulations. ELDs track vehicle operation and driver activity, providing data that can be used to ensure fleet compliance with regulations, support planning of schedules, and adherence to required inspections.

Most ELDs consist of a hardware device and a preloaded mobile app that connects to a truck’s engine control unit to track driving hours and GPS location information. The device sends this data to the app, creating duty status logs and providing reports for drivers and fleet managers. Some ELDs require professional installation, while truckers can install others using a Bring Your Device (BYOD) solution.


Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply