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Since we published previous versions of this guide in 2017, electronic logging device options have continued to proliferate. That’s evident wherever you look, from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 300-plus-device registry or Overdrive’s online quick-comparison chart. There are now dozens more options from vendors offering a variety of hardware and software to owner-operators and fleets. Many of them are new to trucking.
Weighing options for complying with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate hasn’t been an easy pill for anti-mandate partisans. But swallowing may go more smoothly when seeing that whatever your needs, there’s a vendor offering it, many of them at a surprisingly reasonable price point.
Since the mandate saw its first compliance deadline date, new players have emerged that sell hardware, and offer ELD software for existing devices, some with no monthly fee. Most devices, however, take the opposite approach to pricing. They lock users into monthly subscription fees, typically assessed on a per-power-unit basis.
As new players in the ELD market continue to emerge, we’ll be updating the aforementioned quick comparison chart online at OverdriveOnline.com/2015ELDChart, but keep in mind when using the chart that with so many new players in this market, flameouts are bound to occur.
Exemptions from the mandate are few. The most significant exemption, for trucks running pre-2000 engines, is explored with others at various points throughout this guide. Otherwise, you’re exempt if you don’t run beyond the short-haul air-mile radius for more than eight days in any rolling 30-day period. If you’re hauling in a livestock or ag operation, a 90-day waiver extension was granted as of mid-March. For most everyone else but drive-away/tow-away operators (also exempted), April 1 marked the beginning of out-of-service orders for not utilizing an ELD.