What You Need to Know About ELD Violation Fines

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In 2012, Congress passed The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, known as Map-21. This new bill altered funding and safety standards for surface transportation. The bill also charged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with creating a new mandate for fleets. The mandate requires the integration of electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all fleet vehicles; these devices record driver Hours of Service (HoS). Along with the mandate came an outline of ELD violation fines.

Below is everything you need to know about the new ELD fines for no ELD.

FMCSA ELD Mandate Fines

The soft enforcement period for ELD compliance ended in April 2018. This means that any ELD violations you’re flagged for affect your CSA score. Since then, the FMCSA updated the CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) to include 22 new roadside inspection and ELD violations. The severity of weight of each violation also received a few changes.

Here are those violations (chart from JJKeller):



Severity value


ELD - No record of duty status (ELD Required)



No record of duty status when one is required (ELD Not Required)



Not using the appropriate method to record hours of service



Failing to provide supporting documents in the driver’s possession upon request



The ELD’s display screen cannot be viewed outside of the commercial motor vehicle



Operating with a device that is not registered with FMCSA



Portable ELD not mounted in a fixed position and visible to driver



Driver failing to maintain ELD user's manual



Driver failing to maintain ELD instruction sheet



Driver failed to maintain instruction sheet for ELD malfunction reporting requirements



Driver failed to maintain supply of blank driver's records of duty status graph-grids



Driver failed to make annotations when applicable



Driver failed to manually add location description



Driver failed to add file comment per safety officer's request



Driver failed to manually add CMV power unit number



Driver failed to manually add the trailer number



Driver failed to manually add shipping document number



Driver failed to select/deselect or annotate a special driving category or exempt status



Driver failed to certify the accuracy of the information gathered by the ELD



Failing to follow the prompts from the ELD when editing/adding missing information



Driver failed to assume or decline unassigned driving time



Failing to note malfunction that requires use of paper log


Approach Fleet eLogs compliance with confidence.

ELD Fines by State

Individual states must enforce the FMCSA ELD mandates themselves, but first, they must adopt these laws into their own state laws. In January 2020, there were still 26 states that hadn’t done so. The concern is that the Department of Transportation (DOT) or state officials are dolling ELD compliance fines when the laws aren’t in place. The next concern is that officials are not prepared for the ELD environment. They may lack training or equipment to handle the new requirements. Since they are conducting the inspections and dolling violations, this is especially important. This creates a lot of confusion, but it also has a huge impact on fleets. The penalties for violations are hefty as it is. Take a look below to see the true impact of ELD fines and penalties.

Impact of ELD Mandate Fines

Let’s look at the true cost of ELD fines, as they should be, when states fully transition. First, we know that, since 2018, accruing fines for ELD violations impact CSA scores. As you know, CSA scores get calculated on a 100 percentile scale, with 100 being the worst. CSA stands for compliance, safety, and accountability. A higher score points to a greater risk of accidents due to poor behavior or compliance. As such, consumers use these scores to determine which company they’d like to work with. But it’s not just customers you have to worry about.

The FMCSA looks at your scores as well. Any carrier with a score greater than 65% is subject to investigation. This is just for the categories of unsafe driving, crash indicator, and HoS compliance. For the BASIC categories, the threshold is 80%. For carriers of hazardous materials, the threshold is 50%.

Again, customers and the FMCSA aren’t the only ones to look at these scores. Insurance companies also view these scores. Those with a lower score indicate lower risk, and therefore have lower premiums.

If a high CSA score doesn’t scare you into compliance, perhaps the fines will. Here is a run down of some of the fines for not being eld compliant:

  • $12,135 for knowingly falsifying electronic log records ($1,214 per day)
  • Reporting and recording fines range from $1,045 to $7,864
  • Commercial regulation violations, with the ELD mandate, result in a per person fine of $10,450. This includes the LTL driver, long-haul truckers, and even freight brokers.
  • Bus drivers, train operators, and passenger carriers pay an ELD violation fine of $26,126.
  • Hazardous material violations can equate fines as hefty as $182,877

The average cost of ELD HoS fines is $2,867, while the highest fine recorded is $13,680. Since most fleets have dozens or even hundreds of fleet vehicles, these fines can really add up. Add these to the costs that build up when your fleet vehicle faces placement out of service. Yes, placement out of service is another consequence of DOT ELD fines.

Fleet Drivers Placed Out-of-Service

The average ELD fine cost should be enough of a deterrent from violation. But to really drive their point home, the FMCSA may also place your driver out of service. Drivers may be out of service for up to 10 hours. It can be much longer if violations continue. Each day they are out of service, you lose an estimated $264. Not to mention the damage it does to your CSA score and customer satisfaction. In addition to the fines and delay, the driver's vehicle may need towing services. On average, towing costs will run you about $344 (for a 40-mile tow).

The most common reason for placement out of service is for not using an authorized ELD. The second is for falsifying records. Electronic Logging Devices record details on driver behavior, vehicle diagnostics, and HoS. They feed this information to fleet managers via telematics software. That information helps managers mitigate risks, prove compliance, and build tailored driver training. Most importantly, it helps fleets remain safe on the road. Doing so reduces your likelihood of a higher CSA score. it also decreases your risk of an accident, as well as inspections and penalties.

Avoid ELD Fines

Don’t face fines for not using ELD devices authorized by the FMCSA. At Azuga, we offer asset and fleet tracking, eLogs, dashcams, and more to fleet companies. With these systems, we ensure that you always remain safe and compliant on the road. But our technologies do so much more than that. With our fleet tracking software, you gain visibility into your fleet no matter where they are. You’ll see their diagnostics, real-time location, HoS, and so much more.

We help you mitigate risks, lower fuel consumption, improve training, and so much more. Learn more at Azuga.