Understanding DOT Electronic Logbook Regulations

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put in place electronic logbook regulations to promote road safety, and a safer working environment for commercial motor vehicle drivers. The rules are also aimed at facilitating easy tracking, management, and sharing of Records of Duty Status (RODS) data.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers required to maintain RODS must ensure that they comply with the Department of Transportation (DOT) electronic logbook mandate. That includes CMV and truck drivers domiciled in Canada and Mexico.

However, there are a few exceptions to the FMCSA’s ELD compliance requirements, including:

  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000
  • Drivers delivering vehicles as commodities via drive-away-tow-away services
  • Drivers falling under short-haul exceptions, because they can still use their timecards
  • Drivers using hard-copy RODS for not more than eight days per month

If a driver must record hours of service (HOS) and keep RODS, then it means they are mandated to comply with the DOT Electronic Logbook mandate. HOS regulations are mandatory in the following scenarios:

  • If drivers transport hazardous materials in large quantities that must be accompanied by placards
  • If they drive heavy vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • If their vehicle transports more than eight passengers for compensation
  • If their vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of more than 10,000 pounds
  • If their vehicle is used to transport more than 15 passengers without compensation

It is also mandatory for carriers to maintain 24-hour RODS, except for:

  • Oilfield carriers
  • CDL operators driving within a radius of 100 air-miles of their base, or non-CDL operators operating within a radius of 150 air-miles of their base (also known as short-haul drivers)
  • A driver who doubles up as a salesperson, and has a combined drive-time of 40 hours per week (or fewer)

RODS and ELDs – The Connection

Generally, drivers required to maintain RODS are also expected to have ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices). FMCSA’s electronic log mandate replaced automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) with ELDs, which record more detailed information. This change has improved HOS compliance among commercial fleet drivers.

It is the responsibility of motor carriers to ensure that the ELDs they employ are registered and approved by the DOT. Carriers are required to check both the Registered ELD List and the Revoked Devices List periodically on the FMCSA website.

To simplify compliance, carriers should sign up for FMCSA updates. They will be notified when an ELD has been removed from the registration list. These notifications make it easy to stay on top of registered device updates.

Approach Fleet eLogs compliance with confidence.

Hours of Service (HOS) and DOT Electronic Logbook Regulations

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must adhere strictly to the set limits on the number of hours they are allowed to drive over a given period. At the same time, they are expected to keep a record of both their driving and non-driving hours.

For CMV drivers transporting property (not passengers), the following HOS rules apply:

  • 11-hour driving limit – After being off duty for ten consecutive hours, drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours.
  • 14-hour limit – A driver may not go beyond 14 straight hours after resuming duty following 10 hours off duty. The 14-hour limit is not extendable by the time off duty.
  • Rest Breaks – Driver is allowed to drive under the condition that 8 hours have elapsed since their last off duty, or sleeper berth duration of not less than half an hour. 
  • 60/70-Hour Limit – Driver is not allowed to drive after being on duty for 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. After being off duty for 34 or more hours consecutively, they may restart a 7/8 hour shift successive on-duty period.

Sleeper Berth Provision Under the sleeper berth provision, drivers must ensure they complete at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. Additionally, drivers should spend two consecutive hours off duty or in the sleeper berth, or a combination of both.

DOT Hours of Service started way back in 1938, but the rules have been revised several times over the years. Other agencies have managed HOS rules in the past, but today they fall under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a DOT agency.

Enforcement of DOT Electronic Logbook Regulations

The Electronic Logging Devices mandate was passed in February 2016, with the compliance date set for December 18th, 2017. The DOT electronic logbook deadline for replacing or upgrading units in vehicles equipped with AORBDs to comply with the ELD requirements was set for December 16th, 2019.

If you are cited for failing to comply with the DOT ELD requirements, you could be subjected to hefty fines and barred from resuming your journey. Ensure that you consult with respective state DOT and FMCSA representatives to obtain adequate information.


If your fleet is in the market for new ELDs, ensure your first stop takes you to a reliable service provider. Azuga offers ELDs that are DOT-compliant and FMCSA-certified for fleet use. They are ideal for carriers as they guarantee you not only stay in compliance, but they also offer a number of other benefits relating to safety, maintenance, efficiency, and cost reduction.