ELD rule exemptions. Who is eligible?


Do you qualify for an ELD rule exemption?

The ELD mandate has been in full effect since December 16, 2019. But there are always exceptions, right?

Typically, the answer would be yes, but not with the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) compliance mandate. There are no exceptions to the new ELD rule, however there are some exemptions.

It is most important to understand that there are NO exceptions to the ELD rule, and AOBRD systems should be switched over to be ELD compliant at this point.

Read our previous blog post on the Required use of ELDs.

However, there are instances when a driver exemption is allowed. Here’s what you need to know about ELD exemptions.

Who is exempt from the ELD rule?

Driver exemptions

According to the FMCSA, exemptions apply to:

  • Drivers who use the timecard exception.
  • Drivers who use paper Records of Duty (RODs), no more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who are required to keep RODs, no more than 8 days within any 30-day period.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 or before the model year 2000 (per the vehicle registration).
  • Drivers who conduct driveaway-towaway operations where the vehicle driven is the delivery, the vehicle transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.

Even though these drivers may not need to follow the ELD rule, they are still required to maintain accurate logs. This can be done on paper, with an AOBRD, or with a logging software program.

Who needs documentation supporting ELD rule exemptions?

Motor carriers will need documentation to support ELD rule exemptions. A carrier’s records may be inspected by authorized safety officials to determine if drivers meet the above exemption criteria.

Drivers do not have to carry documentation; however, motor carriers should maintain proper documentation at their place of business.

Vehicle exemptions

1. The vehicles engine age will determine its exemption status.

  • Vehicles manufactured prior to the year 2000 are exempt from the ELD rule.
  • Also, engines with plates or documentation predating model year 2000 are also exempt, even if the vehicle itself is newer. This sometimes happens when a vehicle is rebuilt with a “glider kit.”

2. Mobile homes and modular home transporters are not exempt.

  • Because the vehicle transporting the shipment is not part of the shipment itself, these drivers are not exempt.

3. Driving and/or living outside the United States is not an exemption.

  • If a driver lives outside the US, but drives inside the US, the driver and vehicle must comply with the US ELD rule.
  • If driving outside the US, work with your ELD provider to tailor the ELD system for accurate recording of driver hours. The ELD provider can help you comply with each country of operation.

Do you need an ELD provider? We can help.

Our Compliance Specialists can assist you with any questions.
Please call us at 888.260.9448 or email us at info@cnsprotects.com.

4. Even if your vehicle has an ELD, you may be exempt.

  • If a driver qualifies for an exemption, but their vehicle has an ELD installed, they may use their exemption and keep records a different way.
  • The motor carrier should configure the ELD to show the driver’s exemption. Or, they can use the ELD annotation feature to record the driver’s exemption.

5. Agricultural exemptions may be noted two ways

  • If motor carriers meet agricultural exemptions (395.1 (k)) or farm vehicle exemptions (395.1 (s)), their drivers can be noted as off-duty or “exempt.”

Be aware of exemption details and changes

As with any rule or regulation, there are many variables. Be aware of the details required to qualify for an exemption. We have summarized the exemptions here, and you can find the full ELD exemption language from the FMCSA for additional details and section references.


Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

At CNS we keep you updated on industry regulations and changes, like the ELD rule and others, so your motor carrier business can meet safety standards and remain compliant.

What ELD should you use?

We searched high and low for a partner in the ELD industry, testing over 20 ELD systems, before we decided to choose Pedigree as our preferred ELD.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Approaching AOBRD deadline will require use of ELDs


The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which was put into action almost two years ago, will take full effect on December 16, 2019, which is the AOBRD deadline.

When the ELD mandate was introduced, an April 1, 2018 deadline was set to switch over to an ELD. The only exception was for those carriers that were using automatic onboard recording devices, also known as AOBRDs, on or before December 17, 2017.

Many have either started the switch or already made it long ago, however if you have not started, you should start now as the process is not as seamless as one might think.

Why is it important to switch from AOBRD to ELD now?

Carriers that have not updated their AOBRDs may run into some challenges, including training drivers to use ELDs and teaching office employees how to transfer logs.

Certain parts of the process can take longer than expected, as well as the potential for suppliers to run low on ELDs or take longer to fix glitches if too many attempt to switch at once.

It may also be difficult to get all drivers into a training class or webinar at the same time. In addition, it will not be a one-time training session. ELD training will need to be ongoing for all drivers, as mistakes will be made, and issues will arise.

Any difficulties may be answered on the FMCSAs ELD rule FAQ section.

What issues are drivers having?

Continuous education of drivers will be necessary. One area that drivers are running into problems with in the switch from AOBRDs to ELDs is unassigned drive time.

The issue comes in when a driver on the road rejects the unassigned drive time, which causes it to enter into the unassigned driver account in the admin system. This forces the company to assign it to a specific driver or explain why it couldn’t be assigned, with no other option.

With AOBRDs, users could create a generic driver account for road tests or yard moves; pretty much all the odd miles that show up in a fleet.

How do you install and train truck drivers on ELDs?

ELD install tips

If you need to manage the installation of ELDs on a large fleet of trucks, some good steps to follow include:

  1. Run a daily report and determine which trucks were in the yard and which ones are coming to the yard.
  2. Then, send a firmware update from your computer to a specific ELD unit.
  3. Then, go out to the truck, allow the firmware to download.
  4. Follow the automated installation steps on the tablet.
  5. Reboot the tablet two or three times and cycle the engine a few times.
  6. Test drive the truck ensuring everything was downloaded properly and you are finished.

ELD training tips

Drivers will need to be trained on ELDs, so a few tips in training them to make the process more seamless are to:

  1. train drivers one-on-one as often as possible.
  2. ensure drivers know how to log into the system.
  3. point out any visual changes and emphasize the sensitivity of the ELD.
  4. emphasize that—before doing anything with the truck—the driver must know how long they have been off duty, as well as how many hours they will be working that day and week.
  5. perform daily log audits and contact and train drivers with issues.
  6. be repetitive.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

What ELD should you use?

We searched high and low for a partner in the ELD industry, testing over 20 ELD systems, before we decided to choose Pedigree as our preferred ELD.

A few reasons why we chose Pedigree include:

  • their excellent price point that we at CNS could stand behind.
  • their dedicated team of technicians looking to improve efficiency and streamline the customer’s operation.
  • their knowledge on DOT rules and regulations to keep you and your ELD running smooth.
  • their “OneView” platform and infrastructure was far greater compared to the competition.
  • the ability to manage our client’s use of ELDs and offer them customer support directly.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

July Spotlight: Brownsberger Transport Company


This month’s CNS Spotlight is on Brownsberger Transport Company of Lititz, PA.

Andrew Brownsberger—owner and driver of Brownsberger Transport Co.—has been operating since 2010. As a car hauler for the thriving auto auction industry in central Pennsylvania, he has grown to a 4-truck operation with plans to grow further in the future. Andrew has watched the industry change in the last few years with a much higher focus on Hours of Service (HOS), especially after the ELD mandate took effect in 2018.

We sat down to ask him a few questions on how he manages his HOS scores, logs, and his drivers in an ever-changing trucking industry.

CNS: Andrew, what issues did you find regarding HOS rules prior to the ELD mandate last year?

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS

Andrew: I think the 30-minute break rule is unnecessary. I don’t feel like that creates safer roads or working conditions. I do agree with HOS; we don’t want people driving over 11 hours. I know from my experience that I would be tired after 11 hours of driving.

CNS: Do you find yourself having any issues after the HOS mandate?

Andrew: Yes, although I agree with HOS. Paper logs are easier to use for many reasons. But with the new technology it makes it harder to correct simple mistakes that happen.

CNS: What system do you have in place for checking logs for your drivers at your company?

Andrew: Pedigree for the ELD hardware and software and CNS for consulting.

CNS: How has the use of the Pedigree Technologies CabMate One helped you regarding staying compliant with the HOS regulations?

Andrew: It clearly lets you know if you are in or going to be in violation.

CNS: Do you have any suggestions for other carriers that may be struggling with HOS rules and regulations?

Andrew: Driver training and being able to manage your work time better is key. If you are having trouble with making changes within the culture, hire CNS.

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS