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.