Just when you thought the ongoing stream of Federal mandates was slowing down, the requirement for ELD’s (Electronic Logging Devices) in all trucks comes along. In an effort to end this mandate, the Owner Operator and Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit claiming the ELD mandate to be arbitrary and capricious. In October 2016 the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals found the mandate to be reasonable and enforceable. A subsequent appeal to the US Supreme Court was denied, meaning that trucking companies must be in compliance with this regulation as of December 18, 2017.
Fortunately, most logging companies (and those trucking companies exclusively hauling for loggers) will be able to dodge this regulatory bullet through a series of exemptions as outlined below:
- The driver is exempt if operating within a 100 air-mile radius of the work reporting locations (generally the address listed for the DOT number of the truck) and returns to the work reporting location within 12 consecutive hours (with at least 10 consecutive hours off duty separating the each 12 consecutive hours on duty). The company employing the driver must keep time records showing time in, time out, and total number of hours worked (the employer must retain these records for a period of 6 months). The driver does not need to carry these time records, but if stopped by law enforcement, must be able to explain to the officer why they do not have a log.
- You can determine air miles between locations at the following website: indo.com/distance.
- A driver can be outside the 100 air-mile radius for 8 days in any 30 day period, complete a paper log, and still be exempt from the ELD rule. If on the 9th day the driver exceeds the mileage limit or duty hours, then ELD compliance is required. The 30-day time period does not need to conform to calendar months. As an example, the 30-day time period can be from June 15 through July 15.
- If the vehicle being driven is a model year prior to the year 2000, the driver is exempt from the ELD mandate. However, once the driver switches to a 2000 model year or newer, then an ELD is required.
- In the case of a vehicle being rebuilt using a “glider kit”, the model year on the engine should be used. If the engine is older than the year 2000 then the driver is not subject to the ELD rule; if 2000 or newer then the ELD mandate is in effect. The owner of the truck is required to maintain all documentation on motor and engine changes at principal place of business.
- For drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, an ELD is not required.
Also, since many loggers use trucking contractors to haul their harvested products, your independent trucking contractor agreements must address the use of ELD’s and any privacy related issues. It would be wise to consult your attorney to determine the proper way to address the issue of ELD’s with your independent trucking contractor agreements.
While the mandate of ELD’s can be a very difficult issue to adequately address, the logging community is reasonably positioned, with their proximity to product markets, to avoid the mandate by utilizing the exemptions available to them.