Who is ELD Exempt:
Answers to Frequently Asked ELD Exemption Questions

Ever since the ELD mandate took effect a year ago, there has been much confusion about the exact rules and its’ exemptions. Now with the upcoming Canadian ELD mandate (expected to be fully enforced by the fourth quarter of 2019) and the fact that it is expected to mirror that of the US mandate, the confusion is surfacing once again.

In this post we discuss the nitty-gritty details of the ELD exceptions, the conditions that need to be met, and how drivers can use the Wireless Links DriverLog App and stay within the rules.

*Please note that most of the answers are quoted from FMCSA driver guide*.

Let’s begin with an overview of the hours of service rule.

What is the HOS Rule?

Hours-of-service laws, dictate when and how long truck drivers can operate. The purpose of HOS laws is to manage the amount of time drivers are on duty. The 14-hour driving window says drivers are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.

Who Is ELD Exempt?

Here is the official list of ELD mandate exemptions from the FMCSA’s website:   

1.Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.

2.Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.(this eight-day period must be over a single 30-day period and doesn’t have to be in the same month, e.g., May 15-June 15).

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

4.Drivers of vehicles with engines* manufactured before 2000.

What year are trucks ELD exempt?

Drivers of vehicles with engines* manufactured before 2000. To clarify, pre-2000 refers to the engine model year, not the vehicle model year. So, if a 2000 model-year vehicle has a 1999 engine, there is no need to comply with the ELD rule.

What year trucks need an ELD?

Any truck who’s engine was manufactured after the year 2000, requires an ELD. To clarify, this refers tot he engine model year and not the truck model year.  

Are owner operators exempt from ELD?

Yes. The FMCSA ELD rule applies to commercial interstate truckers , including owner-operators and small carriers, who are required to maintain record of duty status (RODS) and HOS.

In 2018, there was an attempt to pass a bill for small carrier ELD exemption however it did not pass. 

What Is The Short-Haul Exception?

Those who travel short distances with their commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are not required to create a record of duty status (log). There are a 2 requirements to qualify for this “short-haul exception” from section 395.1(e):


  • 100-Air-Mile Radius Exception – operate within a 100 air-mile radius (115.08 statute miles) of the normal work reporting location, return to the location, and be released from work within 12 consecutive hours.
    • Your motor carrier must keep time records of the times you report for and are released from work each day, and the total hours on duty each day. You do not have to have these records in your truck.
    • This exception is optional. For example, you and your employer may choose to use a logbook even though you are within the 100 air-mile radius, so that you do not have to be released from work within 12 hours that day.
  • 150-Air-Mile Radius Exception (Non-CDL Short-Haul) – operate CMVs that do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL).  The non-CDL short-haul exception applies on days when you:
    • Drive a truck that does not require a CDL,
    • Work within a 150 air-mile radius (see p. 3 for explanation of “air miles”) of your normal work reporting location and return there each day.
    • Follow the 10-hour off duty and 11-hour driving requirements, • Do not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty on 5 days of any period of 7 consecutive days, and
    • Do not drive after the 16th hour after coming on duty on 2 days of any period of 7 consecutive days.
Are Any Records Supposed To Be Maintained For These Exceptions?

Yes. The motor carrier must maintain a specific time record on the driver when utilizing either short-haul exception. It must show:

  • The time the driver reports for duty each day.
  • The time the driver is released from duty each day.
  • The total number of hours on duty each day.
  • Total time on duty for the preceding seven days for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.

Important notes for both provisions:

  • For either short-haul provision, the driver is expected to take a 30-minute break every eight hours.
  • The motor carrier must maintain and retain this record for six months, just as any other hours-of-service document.
  • Neither exception requires the motor carrier to maintain time records for the driver’s days off.
What Is The 16-Hour Short-Haul Exception?

As listed in FMCSA guide for drivers: If you usually come back to your work-reporting location and go home at the end of your workday, you might be able to use the 16-hour short-haul exception. This exception allows you to extend the 14-consecutive-hour driving window to 16 hours once every 7 consecutive days. In order to use this exception, you must do the following:

  • You must return to your work reporting location that day, as well as for your last 5 duty tours. A duty tour is the period of time from when you come to work to when you leave work. It is your “workday,” the time between your off-duty periods of at least 10 consecutive hours.
  • You must be released from duty within 16 hours after coming on duty.
  • You must only use this exception once every 7 consecutive days (unless you took 34 consecutive hours off to restart a 7/8-day period).

You may not use this exception if you qualify for the “Non-CDL Short Haul Exception” explained earlier. This regulation is found in Section 395.1(o).

What Is The Pre-2000 Model Year Exemption?

Owner-operators with trucks equipped with model year 1999 engines and older will not be not subject to the electronic logging device mandate, regardless of the model year of the truck, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

However, if a truck’s model year is older than 2000, but the engine model year is 2000 or newer, the driver is still required to adhere to the ELD mandate. If the engine does not support an engine control module (ECM), the fleet must use an ELD that does not rely on ECM connectivity.

The driver is not required to possess documentation that confirms the vehicle engine model year, But motor carriers are required to maintain all documentation on motor and engine changes at the principal place of business.

What Is the Adverse Driving Conditions Exception?

If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. This means you could drive for up to 13 hours, which is 2 hours more than allowed under normal conditions. Adverse driving conditions mean things that you did not know about when you started your run, like snow, fog, or a shut-down of traffic due to a crash. Adverse driving conditions do not include situations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods. Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour.

Are There Any Other specific Exemptions?

FMCSA has so far honored a few exemption requests; it has granted temporary waivers from the mandate to livestock haulers, Old Dominion Freight Line and the Motion Picture Association of America. FMCSA recently denied the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s request for an exemption from the electronic logging device rule.

For further information please refer to the FMCSA website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/

How To Use the Exceptions with the DriverLog App?

  • DriverLog makes it simple for you to view your current and remaining on-duty status for the shift and cycle.
  • You can change your duty status at the push of a button, no complex menu navigation needed. DriverLog auto updates your status when driving starts and stops.
  • For Co-drivers, DriverLog seamlessly logs duty status for co-drivers. Co-drivers are able to access their data so they can view their logs or see how much time they have remaining, even while the driver’s logs continue to run. Switching between team drivers is as simple as clicking a button.
  • With a password protected officer view, DriverLog makes it safe and easy to approach DOT inspections with ease.

electronic logbook for truckers

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