ELD Mandates and what they mean for shippers has been the talk of the industry for the past several months. Inevitably, there will be much confusion on the road to compliance.

First, what are Electronic Logging Devices anyway? You can learn more about that in our recent blog article. There’s a lot to know, but despite all these new rules and regulations, there are some minor exceptions. What are those exceptions? We break down the ELD exemptions here for you so you can get on the road and be up to code.

Who is exempt from the ELD rule?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

“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”

Source: FMCSA website.

This includes:

Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period

If you are a driver not required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS), then you don’t have to comply with the ELD Mandate. What is RODS? The driver’s record of duty status, commonly known as the driver log, is the document used by the driver to record their time on the road. A driver’s RODS status is defined in 49 CFR 395.8. 

Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.

A driveaway-towaway operation describes any operation in which any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer, singly or in combination, new or used, constitutes the commodity being transported when one set or more wheels of any such vehicle are on the roadway during the course of transportation between:

  • A vehicle manufacturer’s facilities
  • Between a vehicle manufacturer and a dealership or purchaser
  • Between a dealership, or other entity selling or leasing the vehicle, and a purchaser or lessee;
  • To a motor carrier’s terminal or repair facility for a repair or disabling damage following a crash
  • To a motor carrier’s terminal or repair facility for repairs associated with the failure of a vehicle component or system; or
  • By means of a saddle-mount tow-bar

Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

In the instance that your vehicle was manufactured before the year 2000, you may be exempt. But, the ELD may use alternative sources to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters, in accordance with the accuracy requirements in Section 4.3.1 of the ELD rule.

Are rented or leased commercial motor vehicles exempt from the ELD rule?

No. If you are a motor vehicle carrier operating rented or leased commercial motor vehicles, you are still required to record hours of service with an ELD, no exceptions, unless the driver or commercial motor vehicle carrier is exempt.

In regards to support information requested, authorized safety officials may inspect and copy motor carrier records and request any records needed to perform their duties.

Are Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) when they are operating in the United States?

Yes, if you live in Canada or Mexico, drivers have to comply with US rules while driving in the United States. This includes the use of ELDs unless they have an exception. If the driver is operating in multiple jurisdictions, they’ll be able to annotate their driver RODS to denote periods of operation outside of the US.

How should an ELD record a driver’s hours of service when operating in another country such as Canada?

The ELD provider can alter a device to suit its customers’ needs/operations in accurately monitoring drivers’ hours.

Can drivers operate commercial motor vehicles equipped with ELDs if they are not required to use them due to an exception?

This is possible, yes. Even if you drive a CMV equipped with ELD technology you can still use an exception.

How can the model year of commercial motor vehicle (CMVs) be found to determine if the CMV was manufactured before 2000 for the exception related to these vehicles?

The model year information necessary to make the determination can be found in this table:

Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year
A = 1980 L = 1990 Y = 2000 A = 2010 L = 2020 Y = 2030
B = 1981 M = 1991 1 = 2001 B = 2011 M = 2021 1 = 2031
C = 1982 N = 1992 2 = 2002 C = 2012 N = 2022 2 = 2032
D = 1983 P = 1993 3 = 2003 D = 2013 P = 2023 3 = 2033
E = 1984 R = 1994 4 = 2004 E = 2014 R = 2024 4 = 2034
F = 1985 S = 1995 5 = 2005 F = 2015 S = 2025 5 = 2035
G = 1986 T = 1996 6 = 2006 G = 2016 T = 2026 6 = 2036
H = 1987 V = 1997 7 = 2007 H = 2017 V = 2027 7 = 2037
J = 1988 W = 1998 8 = 2008 J = 2018 W = 2028 8 = 2038
K = 1989 X = 1999 9 = 2009 K = 2019 X = 2029 9 = 2039

The model year code is the 10th digit in the VIN.

If a commercial motor vehicle is equipped with a glider kit that is newer than the model year 2000, but the connections and motor vehicle components (such as the engine) are older than the model year 2000, is the vehicle exempt from the ELD rule?

No. ELD use is required for vehicles whose VINs reflects a model year of 2000 or newer. The ELD rule requires a reasonable proxy for this data if the engine control module (ECM) or ECM connectivity does not provide it. If the currently installed engine cannot support an ECM to obtain the required vehicle parameters, then the operator has to use an ELD that doesn’t rely on ECM connectivity.

Can a driver use an ELD on a commercial motor vehicle with a model year older than 2000?

Yes. However, the ELD must comply with the ELD rule’s technical specifications. The ELD may use alternative sources to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters, in accordance with the accuracy requirements in Section 4.3.1 of the ELD rule.