What is an ELD?

  • An Electronic Logging Device
  • Used to keep track of a professional driver’s hours of duty, for regulatory compliance
  • As of December 2017, these devices are required by the ELD Mandate
  • An ELD must connect to the engine’s computer to detect motion and record driving time
  • Most ELDs are part of a larger telematics product that provides additional features like GPS tracking, messaging, navigation, and more

ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device. Most professional drivers are required by law to keep logs of their time spent driving and on duty, to ensure they stay below certain limits. The idea behind this is to prevent drivers from working too much and driving while dangerously fatigued.

In the olden days, these logs were kept in a paper logbook with a grid for tracking hours by hand. Electronic methods of tracking this information have existed for decades, but they’ve gained increasing popularity in recent years. This is partly because the DOT has been planning to mandate their use for some time, and partly because fleets have seen the advantages that come with having such technology in their vehicles.

So while electronic devices for measuring drivers’ hours of service have been around a while, the term ELD has been introduced more recently as part of the DOT’s final rule mandating their use. In order to comply with the mandate, an electronic logging device must meet certain standards to be considered a true ELD.


What’s the difference between an ELD, an EOBR, and an AOBRD?

Why so many different acronyms for electronic devices that track driver logs? Good question. We’ll break it down simply:

AOBRD (Automated On Board Recording Device) – Electronic logs have been around for a long time. Until recently, they were not required and not heavily regulated, but the DOT did have some rules and guidelines for their use. Older electronic log devices complying with these older rules are known as AOBRDs. So until the ELD Mandate in December 2015, all electronic logging devices on the market were technically AOBRDs. Qualcomm, Peoplenet, and all the other big names in electronic logs are AOBRDs (until they update their products to become ELD mandate compliant)

EOBR (Electronic On Board Recorder) – This was a term the industry used for a while to describe the next generation of electronic logs. The term has been replaced by the term ELD.

ELD (Electronic Logging Device) – The official term used by the FMCSA to describe the devices they are requiring fleets to use for Hours of Service logging. They are now mandatory, and their operation and features must comply with more specific regulation than the older AOBRD requirements. Going forward, almost all fleets will be required to use ELDs and all electronic log manufacturers will have to make sure their devices comply with ELD standards. See our description of the ELD Mandate for more details on these requirements.

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