September 6, 2018


Although the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate went into effect last year, we’re still seeing that many fleets and individual drivers have questions about the regulation. To assist those still unsure of what’s required to meet compliance, we turned to our compliance expert, Tom Cuthbertson, for some answers.

Device malfunctions are a concern for many drivers. If an ELD is defective, what documents do drivers need to complete to stay compliant?
If a device is defective, drivers must notify their carrier within 24 hours of the malfunction and have written record. The carriers or vehicle owners are responsible for repairing or replacing the device within eight days, and during that time period, the driver can continue driving, but must use paper logs to document the record of duty status (RODS). In case the driver is unaware of a malfunction, or does not notify the carrier, our Omnitracs systems send immediate notifications to the carriers to satisfy the requirement and be compliant.

Can you explain the personal conveyance (PC) requirements?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines PC as “the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty.” Under the mandate, PC can be used when drivers are off duty, relieved from work and using their trucks to get to a nearby rest stop. Whether it be to get to a home, a hotel, or a safe place to park, drivers need to record all time operating their vehicles.

During PC, drivers must change their duty statuses to off-duty to indicate they are not performing work-related activities to ensure it will not be counted against their hours of service (HOS). Additionally, PC can be used if a driver runs out of hours loading or unloading, or if a safety official requests a vehicle to be moved.  To avoid any violations when using and breaking sleeper berth, the driver needs to add annotation indicating the enforcement request to move the vehicle.

How much time should drivers allow for PC a day? Is there a limit on how many times in a week or month a driver can use it?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), PC should be used for short distances, but there is no defined mileage or number of times it can be used. Instead, those requirements are part of carriers’ policies, and it should be communicated to drivers directly.

Weather conditions can impact a driver’s route in more ways than one. Should adverse weather conditions be recorded as active duty or off-duty driving?
If a driver encounters unpredicted adverse weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, or fog, drivers may continue driving as active duty for up to two hours, until they are able to reach the intended location or a safe location to stop. If drivers are beyond their regulated hours, they can continue driving to get to secure locations, but to avoid any penalties, they must note why they are using the exemption.

Can you explain the short haul exemptions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) drivers? 
To meet the FMCSA definition for short haul, drivers must start and return to the same location within 12 hours of duty time; drive no more than 11 hours; have 10 consecutive hours off in between shifts; maintain time clock functions; and not exceed a 100-mile radius from their starting locations.

This is where the numbers become important. If a driver exceeds the 100-mile radius from their starting locations within the first eight hours, they need to take the 30-minute break after consecutive duty time of eight hours. However, if a driver is working beyond the allowed 12 hours and needs a break prior to ending their day, they can take it as long as they note why they didn’t stop by the eighth hour.

We hear a lot of questions about exempt vs. non-exempt drivers. How do you handle unassigned drive time with third-party mechanics? And can miles driven by exempt drivers be counted as short haul?
Carriers and drivers can create a separate ELD login for exempt drivers. This would account for any movements or spikes in mileage that is not caused by the driver, and therefore, would not impact a driver’s recorded hours. Additionally, you can mark hours driven by exempt drivers as short haul, as long as they can be property identified and accounted for during an audit.

Moving away from technology, many drivers are wondering about the supporting documents they need to keep in their vehicles. What are they and how long do drivers need to keep them?
Under the new regulations, drivers need to submit all documents to their carriers and do not need to keep copies in their trucks. However, the mandate does note that during roadside inspections, drivers need to provide all supporting documents they have in their possession.

Switching gears from drivers to carriers, how many supporting documents do carriers need to keep?
Carriers must keep up to eight supporting documents for every 24 hours a driver is on duty. If a driver submits more than eight documents, carriers must retain the first and last document of the day, and six others. If drivers submit fewer than eight documents, carriers must maintain them all.

It’s understandable — and expected — that both carriers and drivers may still have questions about the regulation. At Omnitracs, we’re committed to helping you navigate the mandate, bringing you the latest information and outlining how to best leverage the new legislation for your maximum benefit. For more details on how we can assist you with your journey to meeting compliance, visit: