ELD Mandate: Navigating the Exemptions


in spring 0f 2018,

the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) began to enforce the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and almost two months since out-of-service criteria (OOSC) associated with the mandate has gone into effect. According to Overdrive Magazine, the first official day of the mandate received mixed responses across the United States with companies waiting to order devices and general obstinance from trucking companies to comply; now, a list of exemptions, legislation, and problems with technology compound the enforcement across the United States.

Responses Across the Nation

For some drivers, the electronic logging devices themselves were not their largest initial worry, but rather equipment breakdown issues that took longer to repair than the drivers had anticipated. As mentioned in the article, Sergeant Jason Morris of the Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement unit reports that "too often, [...] time gets away from him for his inspections and he spends several days in Simpson County finishing out the total."

Kentucky, among other states, had chosen not to issue citations for ELD noncompliance during the grace period between the beginning of the ELD mandate and April 1, 2018. Prior to this date, states across the country had declared their intentions to enforce the ELD mandate shown in the map below. CVSA out-of-service criteria has been enforced within states declared as such and prohibits a driver or motor carrier from operating a vehicle for a specified amount of time or until the correction is completed.

Source: Overdrive Magazine.

Source: Overdrive Magazine.

States such as Tennessee, Missouri, and South Dakota have voiced opposition from refusing to allocate state funds to enforcement to calling for an appeal of the mandate entirely. Proposed bills primarily cite the impacts on small businesses and inflated prices for consumers, emboldening Congress and FMCSA to rescind ELD laws.

Others drivers and truck dispatchers, however, reported little change in their daily routines at the onset of the mandate. “Don’t see what all the fuss is about — the driving regulations have not changed,” said a commenter in an Overdrive query posted to Facebook. “Adapt and overcome. The way of the outlaws is gone,” said another respondent. 


Within the first several months, several ELD exemptions have been made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These exemptions include:

  • Drivers who use paper Records of Duty Status (RODS) for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.

  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

  • Drivers who are required to keep RODS not more than 8 days within any 30-day period.

  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.

  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the model year 2000 as reflected on the vehicle registration.

These drivers are still adherent to the RODS requirements and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging device software program when required. However, drivers who are not required to use an ELD due to an exception may still operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) equipped with an electronic logging device.

Those who travel short distances with their CMVs are required to follow the majority of safety regulations and record-keeping mandates, but there are several criteria to qualify for a short-term exemption. These include, in accordance with Section 395.1(e)(1):

  • Operate within a 100/150 air-mile radius of the normal work-reporting location (100 air-miles if you are a commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver and 150 air-miles for drivers without a CDL). One air mile equals 115.08 statute miles or 185.20 miles according to FMCSA regulations.

  • Start and return to the same location.

  • 12 consecutive hours of duty time.

Short-haul drivers must also follow these rules:

  • Drive time cannot exceed 11 hours.

  • Must log a minimum of 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time after shift.

If the driver fails to meet these conditions, he or she will have to complete a logbook for the day because the vehicle is considered a CMV.

In Mid-May, the House's Appropriations Committee revealed a bill that would exempt livestock carriers from ELD mandate compliance until September 2019 at the earliest. These carriers, as well as bee haulers, are currently exempt from compliance until September 2018.