How to Know When Trucks Need ELD

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Are you thinking about getting an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) for your fleet? When it comes to ELD, it’s one of the most efficient ways to log your hours and ensure safety for your drivers. It saves you from handling tedious paper files or inaccurately logging hours, causing driver efficiencies. Despite the many advantages, there are some exceptions to the ELD rule for truck drivers. Certain trucks based on year made or other criteria can make them exempt from using an ELD.

What is ELD and Why is it Important

An ELD is a technology commercial truck drivers use to log their hours of service (HOS). This device seamlessly tracks driving time through one device. It also displays information such as whether the engine is running and the vehicle is moving, miles driven, and the duration of engine operation in hours.

There are just a few of the many benefits of incorporating an ELD to your fleet. However, the most important reasons are to hold your truck drivers accountable and to keep them safe. Previously, truckers would use a book to manually log their hours. Soon, the books would be smudged, or inaccurate times would be recorded. An ELD holds drivers accountable to truly drive the full 8 hours prior to taking a break and get them back on the road as soon as possible.

Holding drivers accountable to the 8-hour drive time proves crucial in other ways. Drivers who drive over 8 hours straight tend to fall asleep at the wheel. This is the most common reason for at-fault accidents with commercial driving. Traditionally, drivers get paid by the hour instead of by the mile with an ELD system, which has led to longer hours and more accidents. The ELD and its tracking methods force drivers to not break the time allotted to them. Every 8 hours, drivers are forced to take a 30-minute break.

Additionally, drivers, fleets, and companies that aren’t compliant are subject to hefty fines. These penalties may consist of fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. This will also affect a driver’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score, which are scores to determine whether you’re a high-risk driver or not. FMCSA mandates that carriers keep at least six months’ worth of back-up copies of ELD data on a separate device. All recordings must contain the time, location, date, vehicle hours, engine hours, user data, carrier data, and vehicle identification data.

Why All Trucks Don’t Need ELD

Although most commercial motor carriers are required to have an ELD, there are some exemptions in which ELD is not mandated or required. One of the main reasons a driver doesn’t need an ELD is if they use paper logs or a timecard. Yes, old fashioned drivers, short-duty can still get away with not having an ELD. Paper Records of Duty, also known as RODs, must not be used more than 8 days out of every 30.

There are certain farm carriers and vehicles that are also subject to exemption from having an ELD. This mostly applies to carriers who are transporting supplies, machinery, and livestock by the operator or farmer’s owner.

What Years Are Trucks ELD Exempt

So, which trucks need ELD? Trucks manufactured in 2000 or later are typically required to have an ELD assuming that they don’t fall under any other exemption categories. The reason you must know what year the truck is for ELD is that this device requires an engine control module (ECM). But most carriers that are manufactured before the year 2000 do not have an ECM.

Although the year of a truck is important, it’s the engine that matters most. Engines can be swapped, meaning that a truck manufactured in the year 2000 can have a new engine. FMCSA has made it clear that the exemption also applies to the engine’s model year, not just the registration date of a vehicle. All engines with a manufactured date of 2000 or later are also mandated to have an ELD.

Other Exemptions for ELD

There are other exemptions for an ELD such as driveaway-towaway drivers. If your drivers are towing a commercial motor vehicle as a shipment and the driver doesn’t own the vehicle, then they aren’t required to use an ELD. Vehicles that are a commodity or ones that are used as an RV or motorhome also do not require an ELD.

Another major exception to the ELD rule is the short-haul exemption. Drivers who perform short-haul assignments typically finish their delivery within the day and are paid by the delivery rather than the hours or miles driven. To qualify for the short haul-exemption, drivers must start and finish the day at the same location. Drivers must also drive within a 150 air-mile radius from their normal work location. Additionally, they should be released within 12 hours and not drive over 14 hours. Lastly, drivers must have 10 hours of off duty time between their 12-hour shifts. The main reason for this rule is to have short-haul drivers who make longer trips, but more infrequent as an exemption to the use of an ELD. Frankly, it’s unnecessary to have a full ELD system installed when you’re only making longer trips once every few weeks.

There are also specific companies that do have their own exemptions to ELD such as the Motion Picture Association of America, Truck Renting and Leasing Association, and the United Parcel Service. So if you work for these companies, you’re exempt.

ELD Offerings by Azuga

Azuga ensures that fleet drivers and vehicles are ELD compliant to prevent fees, tickets, and other penalties. Azuga offers eLogs, which meets or exceeds the FMCSA 395.15 ELD requirements. Azuga eLogs simplifies the process by automating back-office record keeping. Additionally, it displays real-time driver availability status to optimize load planning and resource allocation, along with providing the driver vehicle inspection report.

With Azuga, you get granular visibility and timely alerts to make sure your fleet doesn’t receive any penalties. You’ll receive alerts when your drivers are closing in on HOS limits to avoid potential violations. These alerts also remove log errors and will remind you to submit your DVIRs on time. Having an ELD keeps everything secure and organized. Besides compliance, you are reducing fuel wastage by tracking excessive idling, improving route management, and identifying bad driving behavior.

Check out Azuga eLogs to take the guesswork out of ELD compliance and easily log your driver hours!