Don’t Get Stranded Because You Are Not ELD Compliant

Reminder: Starting April 1 in the US, motorcoach drivers not in compliance with the electronic logging device (ELD) or automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) mandate could officially be placed out of service during a roadside inspection.

After April 1, here’s what enforcement will look like:

  • Drivers who do not have an ELD/AOBRD when required will be placed out of service (OOS).
  • The driver will remain out of service for 10 hours in accordance with CVSA OOS criteria .
  • Drivers will be allowed to travel to their next scheduled stop but cannot be dispatched again without an ELD/AOBRD.
  • If the driver is dispatched again, the driver and carrier will be subject to further enforcement action.

Here are some tips ahead of (and after) April 1

Select a device. If you have not yet invested in an ELD, there are more than  300 different devices to choose from on the FMCSA’s self-registered site. With all the different options, companies should think about what they truly need before selecting a device and to use due diligence during the selection process. Ultimately, to comply with the mandate, ELDs are for tracking Hours of Service (HOS), and those HOS rules have remained unchanged.

Know your device. On board, drivers are required to have the following:

  • The device’s user manual, which can be paper or electronic;
  • An instruction sheet for data transfer;
  • An ELD malfunction instruction sheet;
  • If you have an AOBRD, label it as an AOBRD. Many officers will assume all electronic devices are ELDs.
  • And any supporting documents that drivers must provide to enforcement officers upon request.

Know what to do if the device malfunctions. The ELD rule says if the device goes down, operators automatically have eight days to repair or replace the device. During that time period, you can go back to using paper logs.  However, did you know that you could get even more time to get back up to speed by applying for an extension from your FMCSA Division Administrator in your state?

You must file this extension request within 5 days of the malfunction, notification for repair or vendor removal.

This is what needs to be in your exemption request:

A motor carrier seeking to extend the period of time permitted for repair, replacement, or service of one or more ELDs shall notify the FMCSA Division Administrator for the State of the motor carrier’s principal place of business within 5 days after a driver notifies the motor carrier under paragraph (a)(1) of 395.34. Each request for an extension must be signed by the motor carrier and must contain:

(i) The name, address, and telephone number of the motor carrier representative who files the request;
(ii) The make, model, and serial number of each ELD;
(iii) The date and location of each ELD malfunction as reported by the driver to the carrier; and
(iv) A concise statement describing actions taken by the motor carrier to make a good faith effort to repair, replace, or service the ELD units, including why the carrier needs additional time beyond the 8 days provided by the regulations (395.34).

Stay Up to date on exemptions.  The ELD Rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks. Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers are included, unless they qualify for one of the exceptions to the ELD rule. The following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required):

  • Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

In addition, there are HOS exemptions such as the 150-mile air radius. But there are also exemptions which have been granted by FMCSA on a limited or long-term basis following the ELD rule. You can keep up with them by visiting:

FMCSA Exemptions or FMCSA Exemptions or Waivers

Editing drive time. The biggest thing about ELDs is that users cannot edit drive time as they could with paper logs. However, if drivers need to make edits of any kind, devices have an annotation feature – basically an electronic sticky note – for that purpose.

During an inspection. When a driver is stopped, an enforcement officer will require that hours-of-service data from the ELD be transferred to the officer. To ensure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible, make sure your drivers know how to transfer the HOS data to the officer and that they have their instruction sheets on hand.

Remember to log out. This is one of the most common mistakes drivers have been dealing with. Remind your drivers again and again to remember to log out!

If you have a question on ELDs, send an email to FMCSA at

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)