FMCSA Guidance About ELD Log Edits and Annotations

On September 19th, 2018, the FMCSA updated its guidance on log edits and annotations. The full FAQ on this subject from the PDF is located below.


FMCSA Editing and Annotations FAQ

What is the difference between “paper records of duty status (RODS)” and printouts of RODS from electronic logging devices (ELDs)?

“Paper RODS” means RODS that are not kept on an ELD or automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), but that are either recorded manually (in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8(f)) or on a computer not synchronized with the vehicle or that is otherwise not qualified to be an ELD or AOBRD. Printouts of RODS from ELDs are the reports that ELDs must be able to generate upon request from an authorized safety official, per section 4.8.1 of the ELD rule.

What is the difference between an “edit” and an “annotation”?

An edit is a change to an electronic logging device (ELD) record that does not overwrite the original record, while an annotation is a note related to a record, update, or edit that a driver or authorized support personnel may input to the ELD. Section 49 CFR 395.30(c)(2) requires that all edits, whether made by a driver or the motor carrier, be annotated to document the reason for the change. For example, an edit showing time being switched from “off duty” to “on-duty not driving” could be annotated by the carrier
to note, “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off duty.” This edit and annotation would then be sent to the driver for approval.

Can a driver annotate the electronic logging device (ELD) record?

Yes. A driver can use annotations to indicate the beginning and end of a period of authorized personal commercial vehicle use, or yard moves, as well as other special driving categories, such as adverse driving conditions (49 CFR 395.1(b)) or oilfield operations (49 CFR 395.1(d)).

Who can edit an electronic logging device (ELD) record?

Both the driver and authorized carrier staff can make limited edits to an ELD record to correct mistakes or add missing information. All edits must include a note (annotation) to explain the reason for the edit. In addition, the driver must confirm (certify) that any carrier edit is accurate, and resubmit the records. If the driver chooses not to re-certify RODs, this is also reflected in the ELD record.

The ELD must keep the original, unedited record, along with the edits. Example: a carrier edits a record to switch a period of time from “off-duty” to “on-duty not driving”, with a note that explains “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off-duty”. The edit and annotation are sent to the driver to verify. The edit is not accepted until the driver confirms it and resubmits the RODS.

Who is responsible for the integrity of records of duty status in regards to the editing and certification rights of drivers and motor carriers?

Although the ELD reflects the driver’s RODS, the driver and carrier share responsibility for the integrity of the records. The driver certification is intended, in part, to protect drivers from unilateral changes. However, if the driver is unavailable or unwilling to recertify the record, the carrier’s proposed edit and annotation would remain part of the record.

Are the original electronic logging device (ELD) records retained after edits are made, and accessible to drivers?

Yes. The original ELD records are retained even when allowed edits and annotations are made. If the driver cannot independently access the records from the ELD, the motor carrier must provide access on request. However, the right to access is limited to a six-month period, consistent with the period during which a motor carrier must retain drivers’ records of duty status (RODS).

Can a user edit or change driving time that has been recorded by an electronic logging device (ELD) to non-driving time?

No. An ELD automatically records all of the time that a CMV is in motion as driving time that cannot be edited or changed to non-driving time.

How can a driver record their on-duty not driving status, such as working in a warehouse, on an ELD, prior to operating a commercial motor vehicle equipped with an ELD?

All of the driver’s hours of service must be accounted for when subject to the HOS rules. Prior to operating a commercial motor vehicle equipped with an ELD, the driver can manually add any on-duty not driving time accrued prior to.

Are drivers allowed to edit their records of duty status (RODS) using the electronic logging device (ELD) back office support systems once they leave the commercial motor vehicle (CMV)?

Yes. Drivers may edit their RODS using ELD back office support systems. While these edits or corrections are allowed to ensure an accurate record of the driver’s duty status, the electronic record must retain what was originally recorded, as well as the date, time, and identity of the individual entering the corrections or edits.

What procedure should be followed if multiple, compatible electronic logging devices (ELDs) are used to record a driver’s record of duty status (RODS) within a motor carrier’s operation?

If multiple, compatible ELDs are used to record a driver’s RODS within a motor carrier’s operation, the ELD in the vehicle the driver is operating must be able to produce a complete ELD report for that driver, on demand, for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days.

What procedure should be followed if multiple, incompatible electronic logging devices (ELDs) are used to record a driver’s record of duty status (RODS)?

The motor carrier and the driver are responsible for ensuring that all of the RODS information required by the HOS rules is available for review by authorized safety officials at the roadside. If the driver uses multiple ELDs that are not compatible (e.g., the data file from one system cannot be uploaded into the other system), the driver must either manually enter the missing duty status information or provide a printout from the other system(s) so that an accurate accounting of the duty status for the current and previous seven days is available for the authorized safety official.

What procedure should be followed if an electronic logging device (ELD) is replaced or reset?

For a reset or replaced ELD, the ELD rule requires data or documents showing the driver’s records of duty status (RODS) history in the vehicle. This data would include the driver’s past seven days of RODS, either loaded into the “new” ELD or in paper format to be provided at roadside.

When a motor carrier discovers a driver in a team driving operation failed to log in and his or her activities were assigned to the co-driver, can the motor carrier reassign the generated data?

For team drivers, the driver account associated with the driving time records may be edited and reassigned between the team drivers, if there was a mistake resulting in a mismatch between the actual driver and the driver recorded by the ELD, and if both team drivers were indicated in one another’s records as a co-driver. Each co-driver must confirm the change for the corrective action to take effect.

What must a driver do with unassigned driving time when he or she logs into the electronic logging device (ELD)?

A driver must review any unassigned driving time when he or she logs into the ELD. If the unassigned records do not belong to the driver, the driver must indicate that in the ELD record. If driving time logged under this unassigned account belongs to the driver, the driver must add that driving time to his or her own record.

What must a motor carrier do with unassigned driving records from an electronic logging device (ELD)?

A motor carrier must either explain why the time is unassigned or assign the time to the appropriate driver. The motor carrier must retain unidentified driving records for at least six months as a part of its hours of service (HOS) ELD records and make them available to authorized safety officials.

If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be recorded?

The driver must identify the driving time as personal conveyance on the device.


You can download the updated guidance from the FMCSA here or at the FMCSA.

Up Next: FMCSA Update for Pre-2000 Model ELD Exceptions