Why Are Older Trucks Exempt From ELD Mandate?

Trucking Companies

For trucking companies, their vehicles are their bread and butter. Without these, the company wouldn’t exist, there would be fewer jobs available, and the entire market would probably come to a standstill. In a sense, that’s why it’s so important for trucking companies to use ELDs. ELDs are extremely important given the safety focus they enable. That’s why every single truck has to have one attached. 

Wait – is that second statement true? 

It’s not! 

There is a list of exemptions for certain vehicles. Are you curious to find out whether your truck comes on that list? Read on to find out.

Who Is Exempted from The ELD Mandate?

1.Vehicles Manufactured Before 2000

An ELD unit requires an engine control module (ECM), which is a device that older vehicles lack. Trucks manufactured before 2000 don’t have ECM. Therefore, a commercial vehicle’s engine manufactured in 2000 or earlier would be exempt from using an ELD Mandate. At the same time, if your truck was manufactured that year but has a newer engine, you can still get an ELD. You can swap your old engine with a new one. This exemption applies to the engine’s model year. Vehicles with models made in 2000 or later need ELDs. 

2.Driveaway-towaway Drivers

These drivers delivering a commercial motor vehicle as a part of their shipment usually don’t own their vehicles. They won’t be required to equip it with an ELD. If your truck isn’t your own, the onus falls on the owner of the vehicle to equip it with an ELD. 

3.Drivers Who Maintain RODS for 8 Days or Less

The drivers who maintain a RODS (Record of Duty Status) for 8 days or less in a 30-day rolling period don’t need an ELD. They need to maintain paper logs but the ELD itself isn’t legally needed. That includes short-haul drivers who take longer trips occasionally. The drivers who break the short-haul exceptions will have to mandatorily get an ELD for the rest of their cycle. That exemption would mean that the short-haul drivers who make longer trips less frequently won’t have to upgrade.

4.Short Haul Exceptions

Some driver’s licenses (CDL) fall under the short-haul exemption. They report to work and either transport their loads to a certain location or they complete a daily delivery. Then they return their truck and go back home. This was previously known as the 100 air-mile radius exception and is an updated final rule that was recently published by the FMCSA. It extends to a 150-mile radius. According to the FMCSA, “permitting this change increases the number of drivers that would be able to take advantage of the exception and would shift work and drive time from long- to short-haul. 

To qualify, the drivers must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location. 
  • Start and end the day at the same location.
  • Finish their shift and leave work within 12 hours.
  • Have 10 hours off-duty between every 12-hour shift.
  • Not drive for more than 14 hours.

5.150 Air Mile Radius

Certain non-CDL drivers fall under this short-haul exemption, too. But to qualify, they must meet certain criteria. They have to operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their reporting location. That’s where they report to and are released from. They must return to the normal reporting location by the end of the year. They also 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 straight days. They must also drive after 16 hours of coming on duty on 2 days of any period of 7 straight consecutive days.

6.Farm Vehicles

Specific farm vehicles and their carriers are exempt from having an ELD. This is not true for all agricultural vehicles and equipment, but it applies to the private transportation of commodities such as livestock, supplies, or machinery that will be transported by the owner and operator of the farm, employee, or family member.

The FMCSA’s HoS Final Rule

Some more criteria for ELD exemption include:

  • Expanding the short-haul exception to 150 air miles and allowing a 14-hour work shift to occur as part of the exception.
  • Expanding the driving window during adverse driving conditions by 2 hours.
  • Taking a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving (instead of on-duty time)
  • Allow an on-duty/not-driving period to qualify as the required break.

This modifies the sleeper berth to allow their driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirements by spending at least 8 hours of that period in the berth. A minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours must be spent inside or outside the berth and both periods will total at least 10 hours. The qualifying period must not count against the 14-hour driving window.

Who Needs to Use ELDs

Essentially, everyone else will have to use an ELD. It’s exceedingly important for all trucks to have a robust, powerful, and easy-to-use ELD solution. Beyond compliance, they minimize administrative burden, reduce fuel wastage, track location and route management, identify bad driving behaviors, reduce liabilities, lower insurance premiums, and increase your safety. All this inadvertently leads to higher profit margins for your company. Keeping all this in mind, why wouldn’t you want to install one of these devices on your vehicle? Call us now.