The FMCSA’s final Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule was published December 2015. Considering the mandate applies to over three million drivers on the road today, it’s important you are aware of the ELD regulations.  Simply put, an ELD is an electronic device that enables truck drivers and commercial motor carriers to easily track Hours of Service (HOS) compliance.  At this point, everyone should be aware that by December 2017, all CDL drivers required to keep a Record of Duty Status (RODS) must use an ELD to document their compliance with HOS rules.  By December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate will require most commercial drivers to use electronic logging devices to record their hours of service.

Many businesses including almost all in the retail agricultural industry operate within the “short haul” exception found in the DOT regulations.  This exception allows qualifying “short-haul” drivers to use time records in lieu of logs required by section 395.1(e). Drivers who use the exception are not required to keep a traditional log or use ELDs.  However, many operate outside the range allowed by the “short haul” exception periodically and are required to maintain a record of duty status (RODS).  With the new ELD rule that must be implemented by most carriers prior to December 18, 2017, the requirements for exceeding the “short haul” exception periodically are now clearly defined.  Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than eight (8) days out of every thirty (30) day period may continue to use paper RODS.  If a driver exceeds the “short haul” exception for more than eight (8) days in a thirty (30) day period they must have an ELD installed.

Listed below are several questions from DOT’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) page and that directly relate to the ELD exemption.  You can review all hours of duty FAQ’s at

1.      What time periods can be used to determine the 8 days in any 30-day period?

The 30-day period is not restricted to a single month, but applies to any 30-day period. For example, June 15 to July 15 is considered a 30-day period.

2.      Can drivers operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) equipped with electronic logging devices (ELDs), if they are not required to use them due to an exception?

Yes. Drivers can drive CMVs equipped with ELDs and still use their exception. A motor carrier may configure an ELD to show the exception for drivers exempt from using the ELD, or use the ELD annotation to record the status.

3.      When a driver fails to meet the provisions of the 100 air-mile radius exemption (section 395.1(e)), is the driver required to have copies of his/her records of duty status for the previous seven days? Must the driver prepare daily records of duty status for the next seven days?

Guidance: The driver must only have in his/her possession a record of duty status for the day he/she does not qualify for the exemption. The record of duty status must cover the entire day, even if the driver has to record retroactively changes in status that occurred between the time that the driver reported for duty and the time in which he/she no longer qualified for the 100 air-mile radius exemption. This is the only way to ensure that a driver does not claim the right to drive 10 hours after leaving his/her exempt status, in addition to the hours already driven under the 100 air-mile exemption.

4.      If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be recorded?

A driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work, time spent traveling from a driver’s home to his/her terminal (normal work reporting location), or from a driver’s terminal to his/her home, may be considered off-duty time. Similarly, time spent traveling short distances from a driver’s en-route lodgings (such as en-route terminals or motels) to restaurants in the vicinity of such lodgings may be considered off-duty time. The type of conveyance used from the terminal to the driver’s home, from the driver’s home to the terminal, or to restaurants in the vicinity of en-route lodgings would not alter the situation unless the vehicle is laden. A driver may not operate a laden CMV as a personal conveyance. The driver who uses a motor carrier’s Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for transportation home, and is subsequently called by the employing carrier and is then dispatched from home, would be on-duty from the time the driver leaves home.


If you have questions about the ELD requirements please don’t hesitate to contact Greg Turner at SafEnvirons, Inc. via the Contact Us page.