ELD Loophole

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Finding Exceptions to the Electronic Logs Mandate

While there is no getting around the Electronic Logs Mandate, the FMCSA has made it clear there are some exceptions to the rule.

There are some ELD exceptions potentially lessening the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) logistical burden of implementing the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule. Although the FMCSA has outlined clear exemptions and exceptions, don’t assume your fleet or your drivers can take advantage of them.

Take a deeper dive into the exceptions by reading below.


Making Exceptions

According to the FMCSA’s guidelines, the following drivers will be exempt from using electronic logs. However, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, through the use of an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required.


Those who use paper record of duty status (RODS) for no more than eight days out of every 30-day period (this eight-day period must be over a single 30-day period and doesn’t have to be in the same month, e.g., May 15-June 15).


Those who conduct driveaway-towaway operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.


Those whose vehicles were manufactured before 2000.

motorcoach ELD loophole

The FMCSA makes it clear if the truck is a rental or a leased vehicle there are no exceptions if the driver or fleet is required to record Hours of Service (HOS). If the fleet is exempt from the requirements of FMCSA regulations part 395.8, then it is likely exempt from the ELD Mandate.


Grandfathering an Extension

Fleets that purchased and installed an AOBRD device on or before December 18, 2017, are still grandfathered until December 16, 2019.

While fleets with grandfathered AOBRDs are enjoying an extension on implementing electronic logs, time will be ticking all the same. The FMCSA makes it clear that after Dec. 16, 2019, fleets will no longer be allowed to use the grandfathered AOBRDs and will have to replace them with ELDs.

Exceptions to Exceptions

While the FMCSA is clear that vehicles older than model-year 2000 are exempt from having to be equipped with an ELD (though the driver will have to keep paper logs or use an AOBRD), there are exceptions to its own rule.

Vehicles not exempt under this exception:


A vehicle that has a glider kit that is newer than the year 2000, but the vehicle’s model-year is older than 2000.


If the engine does not support an engine control module (ECM), the fleet must use an ELD that does not rely on ECM connectivity.

The FMCSA does allow a driver to use an ELD on a commercial vehicle that is older than model-year 2000. However, the ELD must comply with the technical specifications of the rule and it may use alternative sources to obtain or estimate the required vehicle parameters.

Semi Truck 2000 ELD

Electronic Logs Mandate Exemptions Won’t Last Long

Although these exceptions exist now, keep in mind that they will not exempt your fleet or drivers indefinitely. As the rule currently stands, many, if not all, of the technical exceptions and extensions will become moot in December 2019. Becoming fully compliant with the Electronic Logs Mandate sooner rather than later will ultimately pay off with better adherence by the fleet’s drivers, fewer enforcement headaches, and ultimately better efficiency.

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