Explaining the ELD Exemptions

Hours of service have long been a hot button issue for transportation companies. CDL drivers must abide by strict regulations regarding how long they can work before they are required to take a break. One of the more recent updates to these regulations is the mandatory use of electronic log devices (ELDs). Here’s a quick look at the ELD rule and its exemptions.

Covered Drivers Under the ELD Rule

Most drivers and motor carriers are required to have ELDs installed. Drivers are covered under the ELD rule if they participate in interstate commerce. Any driver who must maintain records of duty status is also covered.

Drivers Exempt from the ELD Rule

Any drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to use ELDs or to keep records of duty status (RODS). Other drivers who are exempt from the ELD rule are still required to adhere to the RODS regulations, and they must still manually prepare a written log. These exempt drivers are:

  • Drivers who operate older vehicles (pre-2000)
  • Drivers who must keep RODS for no more than eight days out of any 30-day period
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for no more than eight days out of any 30-day period
  • Drivers who operate with the short-haul exception
  • Drivers who do drive-away-tow-away operations

This last exemption assumes that drivers who are conducting drive-away-tow-away operations are driving the commodity for delivery.

Drivers Qualifying for the Short-Haul Exception

To qualify for the short-haul exception to the ELD rule, drivers must start and complete their driving duties at the same location. They must also be released from job responsibilities within 12 consecutive hours. Short-haul drivers must operate within 100 air-miles (or 115.08 statute miles) of the location at which they report for work. For property-carrying drivers who operate CMVs that do not require a CDL, that geographical range is extended to 150 air-miles.


HDS Safety Services can help your company stay in full compliance with our electronic log device auditing services. Our auditing services take a proactive approach that identifies potential violations before they occur. Call our office in Tucson, AZ at (520) 622-0419.