With the trucking industry preparing to embrace the new ELD legislation, some commercial vehicle operators are already looking for ways to resist the new changes. It’s true that the new ELD mandate doesn’t and shouldn’t apply to everyone, and that’s why the governing body that created it has included a list of exemptions. If you qualify for one, you can avoid scrutiny under this new mandate and keep your operations going as you’ve always done, lucky you! Keep reading to find out which ELD exemptions are outlined in the new ELD mandate and whether you qualify to sidestep this legislation.

Drivers not Currently Tracking Hours of Service

The first exemption accommodates commercial vehicle operators that currently fall under exemptions for tracking hours of service. This exemption is sometimes called the “timesheet” exemption because these drivers are still required to track their hours on a timesheet. Drivers using the timesheet exemption fall into one of two categories: they are either “commercially driver-licensed” (CDL) drivers who operate within a 100-mile radius, or non-CDL drivers who operate within a 150-mile radius.

To take advantage of this exemption, CDL drivers must operate within 100 air miles of their home base each day, go off duty within 12 hours, report to the same work location daily and have a minimum of 10 hours of downtime between shifts. This describes the work patterns of a short-haul trucker, someone who reports to work, drives a load to a set location or completes a delivery route daily, then drives back to the workplace and returns home at the end of the day.

Non-CDL drivers have similar requirements. They must operate within 150 air miles of their home facility. They must not drive within a state that requires a CDL for the vehicle they drive, and they must report back to the same location every day. Additionally, these drivers may not drive after the 14th hour of being on duty in a period of seven consecutive days, nor drive after the 16th hour of coming on duty in a period of two consecutive days.

A driver who presently falls into one of the two time-sheet exemption categories will be exempt from the new ELD mandate.

Drivers who Track HOS for Fewer than 8 Days per 30-Day Period

This exemption simply states that drivers who keep log books for fewer than 8 days in a 30-day period are exempt from the ELD mandate. The drivers must keep paper logs, but the electronic logbook software itself is not necessary. Short-haul drivers that occasionally take longer trips frequently fall into this category. This exemption prevents drivers that only take long-haul trips occasionally from having to upgrade their equipment.

Drive-Away/Tow-Away Operations

A drive-away/tow-away operation describes a situation where the driver is a commercial vehicle operator, and the vehicle they are driving is the commodity being delivered. This exemption allows for individual drivers to deliver commercial vehicles without having to install an ELD, however, these drivers are still responsible for maintaining paper logbooks when the law requires.

Drivers who transport individual cars to dealerships across the country to fill orders may fall into this category. In this case, the driver is driving “commercially” but the car itself is the product, so the exemption applies.

Drivers of Vehicles Manufactured before Model Year 2000

Operators of commercial vehicles that were manufactured before the year 2000 are exempt from the new ELD mandate. This is because many such vehicles are not equipped with an Electronic Control Module (ECM). This computer is used to control engine performance, measure fuel efficiency and assess emissions, and is essential for the ELD to function. Those exempted in this way must keep paper logs when legally required.

Two Important Reminders for Those Who Qualify for an Exemption:

1. Qualifying for one of these ELD exemptions does not necessarily mean one is exempt from record of duty tracking. Even commercial vehicle drivers that have exemptions from the new ELD mandate must maintain paper logbooks when the law requires them to do so. An exemption from the ELD mandate is not an exemption from keeping hours-of-service records.

2. Exempt persons can still run an ELD. ELDs confer many benefits for drivers and carriers, such as the ability to monitor vehicle usage and position, estimate arrival times for commercial loads, and a reduction in paperwork, leading to time and cost savings.

These ELD exemptions highlight the intention behind the ELD mandate itself, which is to ensure that the hard-working people that drive big trucks for a living stay safe and meet DOT truck inspection requirements. Whether you qualify for an exemption or not, you can still save a ton of time and money while increasing service efficiency by using an electronic logging device.