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The ELD Law

An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a computer record of the truck’s mileage and time on the road.

As of December 18, 2017, long-haul commercial truckers are required to use an ELD instead of a paper log.

What does that mean for truckers?

The new law means their time will be tracked by the ELD, instead of the old paper logs that truckers fill out by hand.

Why is an Electronic Logging Device controversial?

The main complaints seem to be cost, and autonomy.

About the cost of an ELD

While many larger motor carriers have been using ELDs for years, some smaller carriers and owner-operators say the devices are prohibitively expensive.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimated that the average annual cost of an ELD at “$495 per truck, with a total range of $165 to $832 per truck on an annualized basis.”

During the open comment period of the proposed law in 2014, some commenters disputed that analysis.

But, many truckers have pointed out that the automatic tracking is a big time-saver for truckers.

An ELD also provides an exact mileage count. That should make tax accounting much easier, and more accurate. See how Fleet Owner explains electronic logging devices cost savings.

About autonomy, privacy concerns

During a week of trucker protests in Washington D.C. in October 2017, truck drivers—many with near-perfect safety records—said the ELDs are intrusive.

Truckers expressed concern that the ELD monitoring turns over control to technology. They say it doesn’t leave room for them to make decisions based on their own schedule.

Electronic Logging Devices-Trucking Law-Seattle-Coluccio law

In How job surveillance is transforming trucking in America, a Cornell professor of Information Science discusses the ELD mandate and the technological shift in the trucking industry.


There are strict Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The FMCSA enforces these laws to prevent driver fatigue, and reduce the high cost of the estimated 3,500 annual fatal truck crashes.

The ELD mandate doesn’t change the HOS requirements.

Electronic logging devices aren’t necessarily creating any new rules. They’re just making it harder to break the law.

As of now, compliance part of the ELD law is going into effect, as planned.

For more background on electronic logging devices and the new law:



This trucking law starts in 2017 – and Trump (probably) won’t stop it …