Who’s Exempt from the ELD Mandate?

by Melanie Baravik
December 18, 2017

The long-anticipated ELD Mandate took effect today, so if you’re subject to the law hopefully you’ve already implemented an ELD solution. But not every commercial vehicle needs to get an ELD, so let’s look at the exceptions to the rule.

Grace period

The FMCSA has already announced a compliance grace period until April 1, 2018. From Monday until that date, drivers will receive a citation for noncompliance but won’t be put out of service. However, citations given for not having an ELD will not affect carriers’ Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores.

Keep in mind that this grace period doesn’t extend the option to get AOBRDs instead of ELDs—as of today, those are not considered compliant devices if they haven't already been installed on the vehicle. AOBRDs will be noncompliant come December 2019, so it makes most sense to go the ELD route.

Agricultural waiver

There’s been some concern about the Mandate among agricultural transporters, since the 11 hours truckers can drive each day might not get livestock to its destination. That means that when drivers have to stop and take a ten-hour break, they would either unload all the livestock at a holding facility, or leave them in the truck for ten hours—neither are great options.

The FMCSA hasn’t yet solved this problem, so for the time being they’ve issued a 90-day ELD compliance waiver for transporters of agricultural commodities. The waiver expires on March 18, 2018. Ag transporters are already exempt from tracking hours of service (HOS) if they operate within 150 miles of the commodity’s source, but the FMCSA wants to clarify if more exemptions should be added and for which commodities. During the 90-day delay, the agency is seeking public comment to help make the final decision about ag industry exemptions.

Exempt commercial vehicles

The ELD Mandate exempts commercial vehicles under some circumstances:

• Short-haul drivers with a timecard exception (those who operate within a 100-mile radius)
• Non-CDL freight drivers operating within a 150 mile radius
• Drivers who use paper RODS for 8 or fewer days in a 30-day period
• Vehicles with engines that are older than model year 2000
• Drive-away/tow-away operations where the vehicle is the commodity
• Slow-moving equipment like cranes that are statistically not a risk to the traveling public
• Utility Service Vehicles (USVs) that are necessary to maintain public utility services

It’s important to note that the pre-2000 model year exemption applies to the engine’s model year, and not the vehicle’s. That means if a qualified commercial vehicle is model year 1998, but the engine is model year 2008, the vehicle needs an ELD.

Still have ELD questions? Take a look at the FMCSA’s FAQ and a few posts from The Yard on the subject:

The ELD Mandate: Phase 3 Takes Effect in 2019

ELD Mandate Soon Takes Effect

AOBRDs vs ELDs: What’s the Difference?

ELD Registration and Certification: What You Should Know

The ELD Mandate and Mixed Fleets

ELDs and Construction: What You Should Know

IFTA Made Easy: A How-To

Even if you don’t need to get an ELD, ES Track can give you the tools to manage your mixed construction fleet. If you’re still searching for a solution, it’s not too late to get a free demo of ES Track.

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