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ELD - Electronic Logging Device Exemptions (FAQ)

1. Who is exempt from the ELD rule?

- Drivers who use the timecard exception are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS) or use ELDs. Additionally, the following drivers are not required to use ELDs; however, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required:

  • a) Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.

  • b) Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.Drivers who are required to keep RODS not more than 8 days within any 30-day period.

  • c) Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.

  • d) Drivers of vehicles manufactured before the model year 2000. (As reflected on the vehicle registration)

2. What time periods can be used to determine the 8 days in any 30-day period?

- The 30-day period is not restricted to a single month, but applies to any 30-day period. For example, June 15 to July 15 is considered a 30-day period.

Drivers are mandated to have certain information in the cab under the ELD rule. Drivers need to have:

  • Instructions on how to use the ELD.

  • Information about the ELD’s data transfer process and step-by-step instructions outlining how to send records to safety officials.

  • Information that explains how to report ELD malfunctions and properly keep alternative records until the problem is fixed.

  • Enough blank driver’s RODS graph grids to record duty status and other relevant information for at least 8 days.

3. Can an electronic logging device (ELD) be on a smartphone or other wireless device?

- Yes. An ELD can be on a smartphone or other wireless device if the device meets the ELD rule’s technical specifications.

4. Can a driver use a portable electronic logging device (ELD)?

- Yes. A driver may use a portable ELD. A portable ELD must be mounted in a fixed position during commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation (CMV) and visible to the driver from a normal seated driving position. This information can be found in the ELD Rule section 395.22(g).

5. Are rented or leased commercial motor vehicles exempt from the ELD rule?

- No. Motor carriers or drivers that operate rented or leased commercial motor vehicle are required to record hours of service with an ELD, unless the driver or commercial motor vehicle is exempt from the requirements of the ELD rule.

6. What are the categories of supporting documents?

- Supporting documents required in the normal course of business are important to verify a driver’s records of duty status (RODS). They consist of five categories, described in 49 CFR 395.11(c):

• Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that indicate the origin and destination of each trip;

• Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;

• Expense receipts related to any on-duty not-driving time;

• Electronic mobile communication records, reflecting communications transmitted through a fleet management system; and

• Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents that indicate what and how a driver was paid.

If a driver keeps paper RODS under 49 CFR 395.8(a)(1)(iii), the carrier must also retain toll receipts. For drivers using paper RODS, toll receipts do not count toward the eight-document cap.

7. Are there specific categories of supporting documents that drivers can provide electronically?

- Two categories—electronic mobile communications and payroll records—are not documents a driver would have to physically retain.

8. What is the difference between an “edit” and an “annotation”?

- An edit is a change to an electronic logging device (ELD) record that does not overwrite the original record, while an annotation is a note related to a record, update, or edit that a driver or authorized support personnel may input to the ELD. Section 49 CFR 395.30(c)(2) requires that all edits, whether made by a driver or the motor carrier, be annotated to document the reason for the change. For example, an edit showing time being switched from “off duty” to “on-duty not driving” could be annotated by the carrier to note, “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off duty.” This edit and annotation would then be sent to the driver for approval.

9. Can a driver annotate the electronic logging device (ELD) record?

- Yes. A driver can use annotations to indicate the beginning and end of a period of authorized personal commercial vehicle use, or yard moves, as well as other special driving categories, such as adverse driving conditions (49 CFR 395.1(b)) or oilfield operations (49 CFR 395.1(d)).

10. Who can edit an electronic logging device (ELD) record?

- Both the driver and authorized carrier staff can make limited edits to an ELD record to correct mistakes or add missing information. All edits must include a note (annotation) to explain the reason for the edit. In addition, the driver must confirm (certify) that any carrier edit is accurate, and resubmit the records. If the driver chooses not to re-certify RODs, this is also reflected in the ELD record. 7 The ELD must keep the original, unedited record, along with the edits. Example: a carrier edits a record to switch a period of time from “off-duty” to “on-duty not driving”, with a note that explains “Driver logged training time incorrectly as off-duty”. The edit and annotation are sent to the driver to verify. The edit is not accepted until the driver confirms it and resubmits the RODS.

11. What procedure should be followed if an electronic logging device (ELD) is replaced or reset?

- For a reset or replaced ELD, the ELD rule requires data or documents showing the driver’s records of duty status (RODS) history in the vehicle. This data would include the driver’s past seven days of RODS, either loaded into the “new” ELD or in paper format to be provided at roadside.

12. If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be recorded?

- The driver must identify the driving time as personal conveyance on the device.

13. How does the electronic logging device reflect personal conveyance when the personal conveyance status is selected and the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is driven?

- All miles driven are recorded, regardless of the status the driver has selected. However, when the personal conveyance status is selected (as allowed and configured by the motor carrier), the CMV’s location is recorded with a lower level of precision (i.e., an approximate 10-mile radius). Personal conveyance will be reflected on the ELD using a different style line (such as dashed or dotted line).

14. What must a motor carrier do if there is an electronic logging device (ELD) malfunction?

- If an ELD malfunctions, a motor carrier must: 1. Correct, repair, replace, or service the malfunctioning ELD within eight days of discovering the condition or a driver’s notification to the motor carrier, whichever occurs first; and 2. Require the driver to maintain paper record of duty status (RODS) until the ELD is back in service. 12. When should a driver certify his or her record of duty status (RODS) on the electronic logging device (ELD) to avoid malfunction codes? FMCSA recommends that drivers first certify their RODS before logging off the ELDs and then shutting down their CMVs’ engines. If drivers don’t follow this recommendation, malfunction codes may occur, such as indicating unaccounted odometer changes and suspicious driving activity.

15. What must a driver do if there is an electronic logging device (ELD) malfunction?

- If an ELD malfunctions, a driver must:

1. Note the malfunction of the ELD and provide written notice of the malfunction to the motor carrier within 24 hours;

2. Reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days, and record the records of duty status on graph-grid paper logs that comply with 49 CFR 395.8, unless the driver already has the records or retrieves them from the ELD; and

3. Continue to manually prepare RODS in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8 until the ELD is serviced and back in compliance.

Still have unanswered questions? Ask them in the comments below.


Source: FMCSA

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