What is an ELD?

An ELD or E-Log is an electronic logging device. This device is an electronic piece of hardware installed to a vehicle engine to record driving hours.

This is a legal requirement in many countries and can also have variations within regions within countries as well. Europeans for example use drivers working hours where in the USA it’s know as the HOS (hours of service) and in Canada it’s the Canadian hours of service. There are some variations between the United States and Canada which are important to know which we will come onto.

Hands typing on a laptop with a faded clock over the top

What does an ELD do?

An ELD monitors a vehicle’s engine and will capture:

  • Whether the engine is running.
  • Whether the vehicle is moving.
  • The distance driven.
  • The duration of engine operation.

Prior to ELDs the standard was to use old fashioned paper logs or EOBRs (electronic on-board recorders) to track the hours driven. EOBRs significantly improved accuracy but not quite consistent enough for the new legislation needed and new ELDs are unable to be manually altered.

An image of an Electronic Logging Device with various information such as drive time remaining and break time.

When did ELDs come into force?

United States ELD regulation have been introduced through several phrases:

  • December 16, 2015 ELD Mandate published
  • February 16 2016 ELDs came into effect.
  • December 18 2017 end of transition phase
  • December 16 2019 compulsory phrase live.

Canadian ELD regulations have been introduced through several phases:

  • December 18, 2017 Start of regulation recognition.
  • June 13 2019 Canada announced a mandate of ELDs for Trucks and bus operators
  • December 2019 Fleets already equipped with loggers or recorders had until to ensure compliance with the published specifications
  • June 12 2022 Deadline for going paperless
  • January 1 2023 Extended deadline


Man wearing a red polo shirt and red baseball cap driving a lorry

USA ELD rules v Canadian ELD rules

The Canadian introduction now means that the rules are more harmonious both north and south of the border with a few differences. Similarities include:

  • Automatic drive time capture
  • On-screen display in the event of an inspection
  • Provide GPS tracking
  • A mechanism to verify logs and agree to edits
  • Special driving statuses allowed such as Personal Conveyance (PC) and Yard Move (YM)
  • Engine synchronization

There are some differences however and these are:

  • ELDs in Canada must be third-party certified
  • ELDs in the USA are self-certified by the manufacturer then are registered with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)
  • Canadian drivers will not need to use a federal system like eRODS to transfer logs electronically as they do in the USA. Drivers will need to email a transfer file to officers who can them open the file in a conversion software in order to read them
  • Canadian ELDs have to warn the driver when reaching the HOS limit.
  • Drivers who have used 75 kilometers a day must disable the personal use option.
  • Exempt Vehicles in Canada include:
    • Operate specific permit issued vehicles
    • Statutory exemptions
    • Rental agreement vehicles with a short term (under 30 days)
    • Vehicles manufactured before 2000 (paper logs still required here)

Man using Electronic Logging Device in vehicle

USA HOS v Canada HOS

USA HOS v Canada HOS

Hours of service are a limit introduced to ensure that drivers are not being overworked and are taking the necessary steps to avoid fatigue and worst-case scenario falling asleep at the wheel. The rules are set out to ensure that drivers are in a fit state to carry out their work. Laid out in the plan are the:

  • Hours a driver must rest between shifts
  • Breaks within the shift
  • Property and passenger carrying drivers have different hours in Canada to the USA.

Canadian Rules South Of 60 degrees

  • Driver limit is 13 hours driving time within a 16-hour period followed by a minimum of 8 hours rest.
  • 14 hours of on-duty time from the end of the most recent 8 hours rest.
  • 7 consecutive days has a 70-hour maximum, and 14 days has a maximum of 120 hours.
    • The 70-hour rule is a rolling 7-day cycle
    • The 120-hour rule is a rolling 14-day cycle
    • A 24-hour period of rest must be taken after doing 70 on-duty hours.
    • Within a 14-day period 24 consecutive hours off-duty is mandatory.

Canadian Rules North of 60 degrees

Because of the adverse conditions and long distances between towns rules are accommodating of these factors

  • Driving time is increased by 2 hours and on-duty by 4 hours.
  • Drivers must stop after 15 hours of driving and 18 hours on-duty.
  • Work shift limits increased by 4 hours with drivers stopping after 20 hours on a shift.
  • Off-duty time is decreased by 2 hours, but the 8-hour consecutive off-duty rest period remains.

United States Hours of Service rules

  • 11-hour driving maximum with 10 hours off straight after.
  • 14-hour driving limit following a 10-hour off-duty period.
  • 15-hour on-duty limit following 8 hours off duty.

These rules are country based not driver based so must be observed based on the driver’s location rather than where they reside. This also applies when driving across the 60-degree border in Canada.

If inspected the US requires 7 days of the most recent activity whereas Canada requires 14 days.

  • CMV rules are different in the US as you can only drive for 10 hours before an 8-hour rest but in Canada the general rules apply for all drivers.

RAM Tracking has a certified ELD offering which is valid throughout the North American continent. If you need ELDs for your fleet get in touch today.

For more information on HOS please visit US & Canadian HOS rules here.


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