To control this process, FMCSA obliged all commercial vehicles to install an ELD. Do you know what is ELD in trucking?
An ELD automatically records the driver's drive time and hours of service.
For some fleets, this rule may only require a simple software update, and, for others, it requires installing a new costly device on their CMVs.
Otherwise, you’re subject to fines, violations, increased insurance rates, and more.
But the ELD mandate rule does not apply to all drivers and motor carriers. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.
Below, find a list of exemptions for ELD, and there are some exceptions.
1. Short-haul drivers
What is a short-haul driver?
Short-haul drivers transport loads to the specific delivery location or complete a daily delivery and, after that, usually, they return their truck to their office and go home.
There are two different short-haul drivers. Those who have a CDL and those who don't .
To qualify for this exemption, short-haul drivers have to meet a certain set of criteria from the FMCSA.
- Can drive as many miles as required as long as they operate within a 100-mile radius of their work location.
- Should start and end their work shift at their work headquarters.
- The driver's work shift must not last longer than 12 hours.
- During the on-duty shift, the driver is not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours.
- After the work shift is over, the driver must take a 10-hour consecutive time to rest.
- Spend at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before going back on duty.
- Report back to work at the same location every day.
- Can drive as many miles as required as long as they operate within a 150-mile radius of their work location.
- Should never drive through a state that requires a CDL for that particular vehicle.
- Should not spend more than 14 hours on duty for 5 out of 7 consecutive days.
- Should not spend more than 16 hours on duty for 2 out of 7 consecutive days.
- Report back to work at the same location every day.
FMCSA explains that "the term “air mile” is internationally defined as a “nautical mile” which is equivalent to 6,076 feet or 1,852 meters. Thus, the 100 air miles are equivalent to 115.08 statute miles or 185.2 kilometers."
If a driver falls short of any one of these criteria, they'll need to fit their vehicle with an ELD or use paper RODS.
2. Driveaway-towaway operations
A driveaway-towaway operation is the act of transportation of an empty or unloaded vehicle that has one or more sets of its wheels on the road surface.
In the case of a driveway-towaway vehicle, an ELD is not required. The driver can record his RODS manually or with an AOBRD.
So, there are two driveaway-towaway exemption situations.
One situation is when the CMV is being driven to some place as a part of a shipment that is intended for sale or lease:
- Between two or more facilities of a vehicle manufacturer.
- Between the facility of the vehicle manufacturer and the location of a dealership or any other purchaser.
- Between a dealership’s or any other seller’s facility and the purchaser’s location.
The second situation is when the CMV requires an extensive repair that is intended for repair:
- To a motor carrier’s repair or service area or facility for repair of damages caused due to a crash.
- To a motor carrier’s repair or service area or facility for repair of damages caused due to vehicle component or system failure.
- Or by using saddle-mount or tow-bar.
3. Pre-2000 vehicles
This exemption applies only to the vehicle's engine where the engine dates pre-2000.
The CMV can also receive an ELD exemption status based on its vehicle identification number (VIN). If the vehicle's VIN is pre-2000, it most likely is exempted.
However, there is an exception to the situation when you consider the VIN.
There are cases when vehicles have had its engine replaced by another vehicle. In such a case, if an engine is pre-2000 but the vehicle itself is not, the exemption still applies.
That is usually the situation with glider kit rebuilds or engine swaps.
So, you could have the most reliable drive train but the engine dates before 2000. In that case, it might be e-log-exempt.
Why is that?
An electronic logging device (ELD) unit requires an engine control module (ECM) and most engines manufactured before 2000 do not have an ECM (engine control model).
To function, ELDs need to function.
4. Drivers with 8 days of RODS or less
Drivers who maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS) for 8 days or less in any 30-day rolling period are also exempt from using electronic logging devices.
They need to maintain paper logs, but the ELD itself isn’t legally required.
However, drivers who break the short-haul exception more than 8 times in 30 days will need an ELD for the rest of that cycle.
5. Agricultural and farm vehicles
Privately owned farm vehicles that are used to transport commodities such as livestock, machinery or supplies are exempt from the ELD rule of using electronic logging devices.
This exemption, however, does not apply to all agricultural vehicles and equipment.
This farm vehicle exemption applies only to private transportation to or from a farm or ranch, and only when it’s carried out by the farm or ranch’s owner-operator, family members, or their employees.
Drivers who surpass this are only affected by the ELD mandate once they cross the 150-air-mile boundary.
If exempt, still need to maintain paper logs
It's important to note that the ELD exemptions and exceptions relate to the ELD mandate, not the Hours of Service rules.
In most cases, trucking companies and drivers are still required to keep simplified timecards or paper records showing the time they report for and are released from duty each day, and their total number of hours on duty.