Safety Corner

What ELD supporting documents are required at roadside and during a compliance audit?

Dear Marc,

What ELD supporting documents are required at roadside and during a compliance audit?


Dear Reader,                                                        

Unless otherwise exempt, a motor carrier and their drivers are required to comply with the supporting document requirements starting effective December 18, 2017 for ELD requirements.

The motor carrier must retain up to eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period that a driver is on duty. Drivers must therefore submit their records of duty status (RODS) and supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them. If a motor carrier retains more than 8 supporting documents, the motor carrier must maintain the first and last document generated during the regular course of business at a minimum. 

The motor carrier must retain these records of duty status (RODS) and supporting documents for six months. The supporting documents required in the normal course of business are important to verify a driver’s records of duty status (RODS).

They consist of five categories, as described in 49 CFR 395.11(c):

  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that indicate the origin and destination of each trip;
  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts related to any on-duty not-driving time;
  • Electronic mobile communication records, reflecting communications transmitted through a fleet management system; and
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents that indicate what and how a driver was paid.

calculator in the middle of fuel receipts thrown together

If a driver keeps paper RODS under 49 CFR 395.8(a)(1)(iii), the carrier must also retain toll receipts. For drivers using paper RODS, toll receipts do not count toward the eight-document cap.

There are two categories of supporting documents that drivers can provide electronically.  Since electronic mobile communications and payroll record are not documents a driver would have to physically retain, they may be part of a larger record that the carrier retains electronically or physically at the dispatch location or principal place of business.

In applying the eight-document limit, all information in an electronic mobile communication record will be counted as one document per duty day.

Supporting documents are not limited to only those acquired at the beginning and end of the workday. Documents acquired throughout the day are important in enforcing the 60/70-hour rule—a crucial part of ensuring hours of service compliance. Compliance with the 60/70-hour rule is based on the cumulative hours an individual works over a period of days. Supporting documents are critical to verify the proper duty statuses in assessing compliance with the 60/70 hour rules.

These supporting documents must contain the following elements:

  • Driver name or carrier-assigned identification number, either on the document or on another document enabling the carrier to link the document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can also be used if it can be linked to the driver;
  • Date;
  • Location (including name of nearest city, town, or village); and
  • Time.


If a driver has fewer than eight documents that include all four elements, a document that contains all of the elements except “time” is considered a supporting document. On the other hand, if a driver submits more than eight documents, the motor carrier must retain the first and last documents for that day and six other supporting documents. If a driver submits fewer than eight documents, the motor carrier must keep each document.

Finally, upon request, a driver must provide any supporting document in the driver’s possession for an authorized safety official’s review during roadside inspections and the motor carrier must submit these supporting documents during a compliance review.


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