Author: Jill McBeth
Date: May 21, 2024



Increasingly, carriers utilizing Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) face challenges with unidentified driving events that can lead to violations during audits and investigations. However, by leveraging the exempt driver functionality within the ELD system, carriers may mitigate those unidentified driving events.

Understanding the Exempt Driver Functionality:

All ELD systems come equipped with an exempt driver function, allowing carriers to configure accounts for drivers who may be exempt from ELD usage. For instance, drivers operating under the short-haul exemption within 160 km of their home terminal can be designated as exempt. This designation enables the sharing of ELD-equipped commercial motor vehicles between exempt and non-exempt drivers seamlessly. The Technical Standard. 3.1.3 Configuration of user account exempt from using an ELD:  As specified in of the Technical Standard, an ELD must allow a motor carrier to configure an ELD for a driver who may be exempt from the use of an ELD. An example of an exempt driver would be a driver driving under the short-haul exemption under current HOS regulations (i.e. specified in regulation as within a radius of 160 km of the home terminal). Even though exempt drivers do not have to use an ELD, an ELD equipped CMV may be shared between exempt and non-exempt drivers and motor carriers can use this allowed configuration to avoid issues with unidentified driver data diagnostics errors.

Implementation and Training:

Drivers and administrators must be trained on how to utilize the exempt functionality in real-world scenarios. Administrators need to activate the exempt function when creating driver accounts, customizing it for specific drivers even if only a few will be using the exemption.

Compliance and Monitoring:

Drivers using the exempt functionality are not exempt from federal Hours of Service regulations but are excused from using a ELD to record the driver’s time. However, they still need to maintain alternative time records that meet regulatory criteria. Drivers must verify their exempt status periodically, as the ELD does not automatically maintain this status.

Challenges of the Exempt Driver Function:

Transitioning from exempt to non-exempt status can pose challenges, especially when the exemption ends, and ELD usage becomes mandatory. Drivers are required to enter time from paper logs or alternative records.

The Technical Standard Indication of Situations Impacting duty-/driving-hour limitations: c) An ELD must provide the means to indicate additional hours that were not recorded for the current motor carrier during the current day or the required previous days specified in current HOS regulations:

(1) When this function is selected, the ELD must prompt the user to select one of the following


i. Option 1: additional hours already recorded and reported in a RODS for another motor carrier.

ii. Option 2: additional hours not recorded since the driver was not required to keep a RODS immediately before the beginning of the day.


The exempt driver functionality within ELD systems offers a valuable tool for carriers with drivers alternating between exempt and non-exempt status. While managing this transition may require additional effort from both drivers and administrators, the benefits of leveraging the exempt driver function for seamless operations and compliance monitoring cannot be overlooked. By understanding, training, and effectively implementing the exempt driver functionality, carriers may avoid unidentified driving events and avoid administrative penalties.