Before we can look at who is not required to use ELDs, it will be helpful to review those that are required to do so. After we have this covered, we can look at the few exceptions to the rule.
For now, know that the FMCSA states that most drivers must follow the HOS regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), and that they require ELD use by any commercial drivers who are “required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).” This includes commercial buses as well as trucks and applies to Canada- and Mexico-based drivers.
According to the FMCSA website, and in general, a CMV is described as “a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions”:
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
- Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
- Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
The short version? If you operate commercial motor vehicles in your business you’re required to keep HOS records. If you’re required to keep HOS records, you need to use an ELD to do so.
So who is exempt from ELD requirements?
According to the FMCSA, there are a few exceptions to the ELD requirements:
Drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS) or use ELDs. Additionally, the following drivers are not required to use ELDs; however, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required.Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
The 30-day period is not restricted to a single month but applies to any 30-day period. For example, June 15 to July 15 is considered a 30-day period. This applies to any driver operating in the US – so drivers domiciled in Canada and Mexico also need to observe this 8-day rule.Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the model year 2000. (As reflected on the vehicle registration)
There may be instances where the model year reflected on the vehicle registration is not the same as the engine model year, most commonly when a vehicle is rebuilt using a “glider kit.” In this circumstance, an inspector/investigator should use the model year on the engine to determine if the driver is exempt from the ELD requirements. If the engine model year is older than 2000, the driver is not subject to the ELD rule.
To be perfectly clear: The pre-2000 year requirement does not apply to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It applies to the engine model year.
Drivers currently using an AOBRD (for now)
A “grandfathered” AOBRD is a device that a motor carrier installed and required its drivers to use before the electronic logging device (ELD) rule compliance date of December 18, 2017. The device must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15. A motor carrier may continue to use grandfathered AOBRDs no later than December 16, 2019. After that, the motor carrier and its drivers must use ELDs.
Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.
So there you have it. While the ELD requirements are far-reaching, there are a few exemptions that exist. If you think your operation has landed in some sort of gray area, don’t hesitate to contact our experts and we’ll help you determine if you need to install ELDs.
For more information on exemptions from the ELD rule, consult the FMCSA website.