Who Is Exempt From FMCSA ELD Rule

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For many of the carriers I know, you will be exempt from the ELD ruling if your Drivers use paper DOT RODS for not more that 8 days during each 30 day period.  This exemption was made clear on August 31st 2016.

FMCSA ELD Compliance Timeline

FMCSA ELD Compliance Timeline

Here’s a video on the goals of ELD’s





Why Record Duty Status

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The ‘Hours of Service‘ regulations are among the most often violated of the FMCSR.  Although intentional violations account for a significant proportion of all citations, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the regulations, their applicability, and the driver’s duty status register results in many citations and fines.



The rules are applicable to all Commercial Motor Vehicles  ( CMV) which transport property:

  • Their employers
  • Their employees
  • this site does not apply to other categories which may apply


  • Gross Motor Vehicle Weight (GVWR) greater  than 10,001 lbs.
  • This site does not work with the other categories which may apply


“. . . no motor carrier (employer) shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive nor shall any such driver drive . . . ” (~395.3(a))

The Federal DOT places responsibility for compliance with the regulations on both the driver and the employer, as stated in FMCSR Section 390.3_

  • The employer shall be knowledgeable of and comply with all regulations contained in this subchapter which are applicable to that motor carrier’s operation (~390.3(e)(1))
  • The driver shall be instructed regarding, and shall comply with all applicable regulations contained in this subchapter. (~395.3(e) (2)


      Drivers or Employers who violate the hours-of-service rules face serious penalties:

  • Drivers may be placed ‘out-of-service’ (shut down) at roadside until the driver has accumulated enough off-duty time to be back in compliance;
  • Sate and local enforcement officials may assess fines:
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSR) may levy civil penalties on the driver or carrier, ranging from $550 to $11,000 per violation depending on severity;
  • The employer’s safety rating can be downgraded for a pattern of violations; and
  • Federal criminal penalties can be brought  against employers who knowingly and willfully allow or require hours-of-service violations.

Some examples of common violations and the penalties resulting from enforcement activities:

  • A motor carrier charged with 13 counts of false reports of records of duty status and one count of failing to require driver to forward records of duty status within 13 days of completion.  Fine – $5,700.
  • An employer was charged with three counts of requiring or permitting drivers to drive without 10 hours of off duty time, and 21 counts of false reports of record-of-duty status.  Fine – $14,475.


Section 395.3 contains the three basic rules limiting the amount of time the driver of a property-carrying CMV may drive. 

  • ll hours driving :  A driver may not drive a CMV for more than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.  With ‘*adverse driving’ you may add 2 hours to finish the run or reach a safe stopping place.
  • 14 Hours on Duty: A driver may not drive a CMV after the end of the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. With ‘*adverse driving’ you may add 2 hours to finish the run or reach a safe stopping place.


Unforeseeable, adverse driving conditions are encountered the driver is allowed to  Add 2 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.

The following is an example of non-compliance with the 10 off duty rule:


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