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    ELD Exemptions: Mandate Rules & Regulations Explained

    semi truck driving at night

    The transportation industry is ever evolving. This means fleet managers need to be aware of and comply with changing rules and new mandates as they develop.

    The ELD mandate was put into effect by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2019, requiring commercial vehicles to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record driving data. While for some fleets this rule only requires a simple software update, many need to install a new device and move away from the traditional paper logbooks where drivers recorded their own data. 

    But you’ve probably heard that there are exceptions to the ELD rule. And you might be wondering who is exempt from the ELD mandate?

    In this post, we’ll take a look at the rule and any ELD rule exemptions you may qualify for. 

    What is the ELD rule? 

    The FMCSA has mandated that all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) be equipped with ELDs. ELDs, sometimes referred to as electronic logging devices or e-logs, are devices that are installed in vehicles to track data like drive time, location, miles driven, vehicle movement, and hours of service for drivers. These devices replace traditional paper logbooks.

    The ELD rule applies to nearly all CMV vehicles on the road, including trucks and busses as well as oil field vehicles and agricultural vehicles, although there are some ELD exemptions. 

    Who is ELD exempt? 

    One of the biggest questions CMV drivers have is, “who is exempt from ELD?” While the ELD rule applies to the majority of CMV drivers on the road, there are currently five exemptions to the mandate. If you fall into one of these categories, you won’t need to install an ELD in your vehicle. 

    ELD Exemptions

    • Vehicles made before 2000: Many vehicles that were manufactured in 1999 or earlier do not have an engine control module (ECM). Because this part is needed for ELDs, vehicles made in this time period are exempt. This ELD exemption is determined by the engine’s manufacture date. So, if your vehicle is pre-2000 and has an older engine, it would qualify for an exemption. However, an older truck with a post-2000 engine would not be an ELD-exempt truck. 

    • Towaway drivers: Towaway drivers are not required to install ELDs in the CMVs they are delivering. This is because the drivers who deliver the trucks don’t actually own them. This includes any vehicles you are transporting for repair or for sale, as long as the vehicle you are operating is also part of that delivery.

    • Drivers of under 8 days of RODS per month: You are exempt from the ELD mandate if you maintain fewer than 8 days of RODs status per a rolling 30-day period.  However, if you break this exemption, you’ll be expected to abide by the ELD rule for the remaining days in the time period.

    While you won’t be required by law to have an ELD if you fall into any of these categories, many fleet operators still choose to install them in their vehicles because of the various benefits the devices have to offer. Fleets that use the devices have seen increased profits and better efficiency, making them a worthwhile investment. 

    What you need to know if you are qualified for ELD exemptions

    Even if your vehicle qualifies for an electronic logs mandate exemption, there are still regulations you’ll need to abide by. 

    ELD exemptions do not mean that you’re free from recording duty status like hours of service, mileage, and location. It just means the data doesn’t need to be recorded by an electronic logging device. 

    Because drivers are still required to keep a record of this data, many businesses elect to use an ELD to simplify the recording process and ensure the accuracy of the recorded information even if they qualify for e-log exemptions.

    What you need to know if you are not exempt

    If you operate a CMV, there’s a good chance you need to abide by the ELD rule. In order to comply with the rule, you need to use a registered and self-certified ELD in your vehicles. Failing to comply with this mandate could be costly to your business, with fines ranging anywhere from $1,000 - $10,000 according to the North American Transportation Association.

    But ELD compliance shouldn’t be viewed as an inconvenience since using these devices can benefit your business in more ways than one. A few benefits you can expect to see by using an ELD include:

    • Fuel usage monitoring: Fleet management supervisors are better able to understand how their fuel is being used.

    • More efficient use of time: Less time maintaining paper logbooks allows drivers and administrators to focus on other tasks.

    • Staying ahead of issues: Electronic logs can alert you to any issues that might have previously been hidden under piles of paper logs.

    Lytx can help with ELD compliance

    Choosing the right ELD solution for your fleet will not only allow you to comply with the mandate, but it will also simplify some time-consuming aspects of your business and keep your drivers safe. Lytx can help you find the right ELD management system for you that works best with all of your fleet management technology. Contact a fleet management expert today to schedule your demo.

    This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to convey legal advice.