Top 6 ELD Exemptions


The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers currently required to maintain Records of Duty Status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers. The FMCSA will, however, allow permit carriers using AOBRDs before December 18, 2017, to install and use AOBRD software until December 16, 2019, providing the carrier is ELD ready.

So who, exactly, is exempt from the ELD mandate? Below are the top six exemptions.

Vehicles Manufactured Before 2000

An electronic logging device (ELD) unit requires an engine control module (ECM). However, most engines manufactured before 2000 lack an ECM. Therefore, if a commercial motor vehicle’s engine was manufactured in 2000 or earlier, that vehicle is exempt from being required to use an ELD.

This exemption previously listed the cutoff year to be for the vehicle. However, it’s the engine that counts, and engines can be swapped. This exemption now applies to the engine’s model year, regardless of the vehicle’s registration date. Vehicles with engine models in 2000 or later require ELDs, even if the vehicle itself was manufactured before 2000.

Learn more: The Pre-2000 Model Year Exemption Applies to Engines, Not the VIN

Driveaway-towaway Drivers

Driveaway-towaway drivers delivering a commercial motor vehicle as part of a shipment don't own the vehicle and therefore are not required to equip it with an ELD.

Drivers Who Maintain RODS for 8 Days or Less

Drivers who maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) for 8 days or fewer in a 30-day rolling period don’t need an ELD. They need to maintain paper logs, but the ELD itself isn’t legally required.

This includes short-haul drivers who occasionally take longer trips. However, drivers who break the short-haul exception more than 8 times in a 30-day period will need an ELD for the rest of that cycle.

This ELD exemption means that short-haul drivers who make longer trips infrequently don't have to upgrade.

100 Air-mile Radius

Some commercial drivers license (CDL) drivers fall under the short-haul exemption. These drivers report to work and either transport their loads to a specific location or completes a daily delivery. They then return their truck and go home.

To qualify, drivers must:

  • Operate within a 100 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location
  • Start and end the day at the same location
  • Be released from work within 12 hours
  • Have at least 10 hours off duty between each 12-hour shift
  • Not drive more than 11 hours

Learn more: The Misunderstood Exception to the ELD Rule: The 100 Air-mile Radius

150 Air-mile Radius

Some non-CDL drivers fall under the short-haul exemption, too.

To qualify, they must:

  • Operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the location where they report to and are released from work
  • Return to the normal reporting location at the end of each duty tour

Additionally, they must not:

  • Drive any vehicle that requires a CDL.
  • Drive after 14 hours of coming on duty on 5 days of any period of 7 consecutive days
  • Drive after 16 hours of coming on duty on 2 days of any period of 7 consecutive days

Farm Vehicles

Certain farm vehicles, and the carriers who operate them, are exempt from having to have an ELD. This is not a blanket exemption for all agricultural vehicles and equipment. It applies to the private transport of commodities such as livestock, machinery or supplies being transported by the farm’s owner or operator, or a family member or employee.

Learn more: Agricultural commodity per the FMCSA

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