December 14, 2017

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Q. How do I know if my drivers or vehicles may be exempt from having to use or be equipped with an ELD? Can you tell me all of the exemptions under the rule?

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A. There are a number of ELD recordkeeping exemptions and exceptions that may affect certain fleets, but in general, all fleets that operate across state lines or participate in interstate commerce and any driver who currently maintains 8 or more days worth of records of duty status (RODS) out of 30 days is required to use an ELD.

 However, drivers are exempted from using an ELD if:

  1. They use paper RODS for no more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  2. The vehicles they are driving have engines that were manufactured before 2000.
  3. They 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.

There are several additional temporary exemptions that fleets can take advantage of.

 Fleets whose vehicles are equipped with an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) prior to December 18, 2017, may continue using the AOBRD until December 2019. At that time, the fleet will have to have ELD devices, which comply with the ELD mandate’s technical rules, installed in their vehicles.

 In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently granted three exemptions to the ELD mandate.

 The first will temporarily permit drivers to use portable ELDs — smartphone- or tablet-based devices — to indicate a change of duty status when they are outside of and away from their truck. 

 The second will temporarily allow fleets to configure an ELD with a “yard-move mode” that does not require a driver to re-input the truck’s yard-move status every time it is powered off.

 These two additional exemptions have been granted for a five-year period that will end on Oct. 20, 2022.

 It is also important to note that the above two exemptions will be rescinded if:

  • The fleet or driver fail to comply with the terms of the exemptions
  • The exemptions have resulted in a lower level of safety
  • Continuation of the exemptions will not be consistent with regulation 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) or 31315(b)

 The third is to grant a limited exemption for the driver and carrier of a CMV rented for 8 days or fewer, with the following conditions:

  • A copy of the rental agreement must be carried on the vehicle and made available to law enforcement
  • The driver must possess copies of his or her RODS for the current and prior 7 days, if required on those days

 To verify if your drivers or vehicles qualify for an exemption consult either the FMCSA or your company’s legal counsel.

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