Why Are Older Trucks Exempt From ELD Mandate?

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Let’s talk trucks – we’re all on board with the importance of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) and the mandates around them, right? They’re like the superhero sidekick ensuring safer journeys for every truck. Then, why are older trucks exempt from ELD? Are you curious to find out whether your truck comes on that list?

This article will answer all the looming questions you have about ELD mandates and sweep away any doubts. So you can gear up and hit the road without any second thoughts holding you back.

Article Roadmap:

  • Understanding ELD Requirements
  • What You Need To Know if You Are Qualified for ELD Exemptions
  • What You Need To Know if You Are Not Exempt
  • Exploring ELD Exemptions
  • Understanding the Impact of the ELD Rule
  • Benefits of ELDs
  • Conclusion

Understanding ELD Requirements

Whether you’re new in the trucking industry or already established, having an updated and clear understanding of the ELD requirements in your state is crucial for navigating the regulatory landscape of the trucking industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the rules for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), which are designed to enhance safety and streamline record-keeping. However, not all trucks fall under the ELD mandate, making it essential to comprehend the criteria for exemption.

ELD exempt trucks are those that meet specific conditions outlined by the FMCSA. The eligibility criteria consider factors such as the model year of the truck, with older models often being exempt.

Similarly, log book exemptions, or e-log exemptions, play a role in determining whether a truck is ELD exempt. Understanding what qualifies a truck as e-log exempt is pivotal. Generally, short-haul operations, drive-away or tow-away situations, and specific agricultural activities can be grounds for exemption.

However, not everyone is exempt from the ELD mandate. It’s essential to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding ELD exemptions to ensure compliance within the ever-evolving trucking industry.

What You Need To Know if You Are Qualified for ELD Exemptions

If you’re navigating trucking, knowing whether you qualify for Electronic Logging Device (ELD) exemptions is crucial for your safety and to stay on the right side of law.

Here’s a breakdown to guide you through the ins and outs:

What is ELD Exempt?

ELD exempt refers to trucks that are not required to comply with the standard ELD mandate set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Qualification Based on Truck Type

ELD exempt trucks are often determined by their model year. Any truck made before the model year 2000, or a truck manufactured in the model year 2000 (or later) but equipped with an engine that predates the year 2000.

Log Book Exemptions

Log book exemptions, or e-log exemptions, play a crucial role in understanding ELD exemptions. If your ELD malfunctions, temporary exemption may be granted, contingent upon prompt resolution.

Short-Haul and Specific Activities

Trucks engaged in short-haul operations within a 100-air-mile radius, drive-away or tow-away situations, and trucks in charge of transporting either a motor vehicle or an empty or unladen vehicle qualify for exemptions.

ELD Exempt Rules

Familiarize yourself with ELD exempt rules, ensuring compliance with regulations. Being well-versed in the specifics can keep you in the right.

Who is Exempt from the ELD Mandate?

Not everyone falls under the ELD mandate in most states. Small carriers, among others, may seek exemptions based on their unique operational circumstances.

Stay Informed on ELD Exemptions

Regularly check for updates on FMCSA ELD exemptions to stay informed about any changes in regulations that may impact your eligibility to ensure that you’re steering your rig in compliance with the latest rules.

What You Need To Know if You Are Not Exempt

If your truck falls outside the realm of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) exemptions, it’s important to understand the key aspects of ELD compliance

Here’s a concise guide to keep you on the right track:

Electronic Logging Device (ELD) exemptions

Mandate Inclusions

Trucks that do not qualify for ELD exemptions must adhere to the standard mandate set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Installation Requirements

Ensure your truck is equipped with a functioning ELD system that complies with FMCSA regulations.

Model Year Consideration

Trucks manufactured after the year 2000 are subject to the ELD mandate. It’s important to verify the model year of your truck to determine your status.

ELD Functionality

Familiarize yourself with the functionality of ELDs. These devices track driving hours, ensuring compliance with hours-of-service regulations.

Record-Keeping Responsibilities

Non-exempt trucks must diligently maintain electronic logs for an accurate account of driving hours and duty status.

Potential Penalties

Be aware of potential penalties for non-compliance with ELD regulations. Staying informed can help you avoid unnecessary fines and keep your operations up to speed.

Stay Updated on ELD Rules

Keep abreast of any updates in the ELD mandates of your state. The regulatory landscape may evolve, and staying informed ensures ongoing compliance.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re uncertain about ELD requirements, seek guidance from industry professionals or consult the FMCSA guidelines for updated information.

Collaborate with Your Carrier

Open communication is key in maintaining compliance. Work closely with your carrier to ensure mutual understanding and adherence to ELD regulations.

Exploring ELD Exemptions

California’s ELD mandate does not encompass every fleet, truck, driver, or trip within its jurisdictional scope. Here are the precise details to keep in mind:

  • Vehicle operators engaged in Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) towaway operations.
  • Vehicle operators in charge of transporting either a motor vehicle or an empty or unladen vehicle in a CMV.
  • Vehicle operators driving a CMV model made before the year 2000, or a CMV manufactured in the model year 2000 (or later) but equipped with an engine replacement that predates the year 2000.
  • Vehicle operators not using a CMV for more than 8 days within a 30-day timeframe.
  • Certain industries, like construction, have exemptions based on unique operational requirements.
  • Vehicle operators engaged in certain agricultural operations, especially during planting and harvesting seasons.
  • Short-haul vehicle operators within a 100-air-mile radius.

Understanding the Impact of the ELD Rule

The impact of the ELD mandate is twofold.

  • For non-exempt trucks, compliance involves installing and using ELDs to electronically record driving hours, replacing traditional paper logbooks. This reduces instances of driver fatigue and enhances road safety.
  • For ELD exempt trucks, they are not bound by the same electronic recording requirements. This distinction acknowledges the unique characteristics of older vehicles, such as their model year and potential technological limitations.

The ELD rule affects drivers, carriers, and the trucking and transportation industry as a whole. For those subject to the mandate, it promotes accountability and transparency. For the exempt trucks, the mandate recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t be practical, considering their varied capabilities and historical contexts.

In essence, understanding the impact of the ELD rule involves recognizing the balance between enforcing modernization for safety and accommodating certain exemptions to ensure the continued functionality of older trucks within the diverse trucking landscape.

Benefits of ELDs

The adoption of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in the trucking industry has ushered in a new era of efficiency, safety, and compliance. It brings numerous advantages to the table, shedding light on how they impact drivers, carriers, and the logistics as a whole.

Benefits of ELDs

Enhanced Accuracy and Compliance

ELDs replace traditional paper logbooks, ensuring accurate and real-time hours-of-service (HOS) recording to enhance compliance with the FMCSA regulations.

Reduction of Manual Errors

Automation through ELDs minimizes the chances of human errors associated with manual logbook entries. This leads to accurate record-keeping, eliminating potential compliance issues.

Improved Safety Measures

ELDs play a crucial role in promoting road safety by mitigating driver fatigue. With automated tracking of driving hours, drivers and carriers can proactively manage rest breaks and reduce potential accidents.

Streamlined Inspections

During roadside inspections, ELDs facilitate seamless verification of compliance, allowing law enforcement officials to quickly assess a driver’s log data. This reduces inspection times and ensures smooth operations.

Simplified Record Retrieval

ELDs store electronic records for the convenience of drivers and carriers. They can retrieve and share accurate data when required, simplifying auditing processes and ensuring transparency.

Operational Efficiency

ELDs contribute to operational efficiency by optimizing route planning, reducing paperwork, and providing real-time visibility into driver activities. Thus, allowing carriers to make informed decisions.

Future-Proofing with Technology

The implementation of ELDs aligns trucking operations with technological advancements, future-proofing the industry and ensuring its adaptability to evolving regulations and safety standards.


In the rear view mirror of trucking regulations, the exemption of older trucks from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate paints a unique portrait of the industry’s past, present, and future. The exemptions aren’t a loophole but a carefully crafted balance between tradition and modernization.

The ELD exempt trucks preserve the legacy of trucking and also recognize the future of cutting-edge technology in ensuring the continuity of diverse trucking traditions within the framework of evolving regulations.

So, let the older trucks roll on, carrying the stories of the past, while the ELD-clad counterparts navigate the highways of compliance and innovation. Keeping all this in mind, why wouldn’t you want to install one of these devices on your vehicle? Call us now.


Can You Put an ELD on an Older Truck?

No, trucks with engines older than 2000 can’t install an ELD. Why? Because an ELD requires an engine control module (ECM). Trucks manufactured before 2000 don’t have ECM. Thus, a commercial vehicle’s engine manufactured in 2000 or earlier are exempt from using an ELD Mandate. 

The ELD exemption applies to the engine’s model year. However, if your truck was manufactured earlier but has a newer engine, you can still get an ELD.

Do Local Truck Drivers Have To Use ELD?

Yes, most local truck drivers have to use an ELD to keep record of duty status (RODS). There are only a few exceptions in this category — short-haul vehicles, certain driveaway and towaway operations and commercial drivers who maintain RODS for eight days or fewer in 30-days.

Does a Pick-up Truck or Small Vehicle Qualify as a CMV?

Yes, pickup trucks, box trucks and smaller vehicles also still qualify as CMV under the ELD mandate. Depending on their load size, manufacture year and other key factors, vehicles beyond standard semi-trucks may not meet exemption requirements. 

Is It Possible To Gain an Exemption With a Glider Kit?

No, a glider kit won’t change a vehicle’s exemption status. A glider kit with a pre-2000 engine will maintain the e-log exemption.

Motor carriers must maintain all documentation at their principal place of business. Drivers using glider kit vehicles should keep all motor and engine changes documentation accessible for proof during roadside inspections.

Do Small Carriers Need to Comply With the ELD Rule?

Company or fleet size does not play any role in ELD exemptions. Whether you’re a small carrier or a large fleet, you need to adhere to the ELD mandate.

What Are Vendor Malfunction Extensions for ELD Solutions?

A vendor malfunction extension is the time allotted for a motor carrier to resolve any device-related issues. ELD manufacturers should consistently test and monitor their devices to stay in compliance with the FMCSA regulations.

Do Rental Vehicles Need to Comply With the Mandate?

Drivers of vehicles rented under the terms of a rental agreement that is eight days or less in duration are exempt from the ELD mandate. Provided that the rental agreement shows the terms of the rental is eight days or less. 

Remember, the exemption cannot be applied if the vehicle is turned in at the end of the eight days and rented again immediately.

Are Any Special Drivers Exempt From the ELD Rule?

Yes, some small groups of specialized drivers have been granted exemptions per the ELD rule. For instance, drivers transporting livestock and drivers employed to transport passengers and property to and from motion picture locations are exempt from the mandate.