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The Advantages of ELDs for Short Haul Exemption Drivers: 4 Key Reasons to Make the Switch

Many truck drivers and carriers are asking questions about the exemptions and rules around the ELD mandate and the recent update. Many carriers can take advantage of more flexible hours-of-service (HOS) regulations and short-haul exemptions.

The final rule for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) became effective on September 29, 2020. It expands the short-haul exception from 100 to 150 air miles. In addition, it increases the hours of service workday from 12 hours to 14 hours.

This additional flexibility allows short-haul drivers the opportunity to expand their driving range and capacity. They can still take advantage of “off-duty” status utilizing the HOS short-haul exception. Some carriers might wonder why bother with an ELD in trucks because of the 150 air mile exemption expansion.

While technically short-haul drivers and carriers have an ELD short-haul exemption, they are not exempt from the HOS rules and keeping required records. Here are the 4 reasons short-haul carriers should use ELD and Fleet Management technology, regardless of the FMCSA short-haul exemption.

More Data Improves Your Business

ELDs in trucks are no longer just for HOS compliance. The amount of data fleet owners and safety/compliance departments can gather from ELDs in trucking is endless. With ELDs, carriers are able to calculate and track mileage driven. This data is required for IFTA quarterly tax reporting and reconciliation.

Even if you are a short-haul driver, and you cross state lines, IFTA reporting is required. The most robust ELD solutions offer IFTA calculations and IFTA reporting included in the fleet management subscription.

Not only do ELDs manage daily operational duties, but ELD data can also protect drivers and fleets from traffic accident liabilities. Even if you are an ELD-exempt truck driver, driver behavior data can be beneficial. Reporting can provide important exonerating evidence in the case of an accident.

ELD technology makes driver behavior reporting available to fleet owners. This means events like speeding, acceleration, and hard braking data are available in case an accident occurs. The fleet owner or admin has access to all the engine and driver data details. If you need to further investigate an accident or incident, it’s easier with the necessary data.

Armed with this hard data, the driver or fleet can often be exonerated after an accident claim. A short-haul ELD exemption shouldn’t prompt the removal of an ELD or hesitation to use an ELD.

Vehicle and Engine Diagnostic Data

The best Fleet Management systems are able to monitor the vehicle and engine diagnostics codes that are being produced by the vehicle’s computer. These codes can help to identify minor issues before they become major problems affecting vehicle safety and operations.

The 150 air mile exemption shouldn’t deter you from using an ELD in your trucks. The effective use of these Vehicle and Engine Diagnostics codes can lead to improved total preventative maintenance. This will lower operating costs, and higher fleet reliability and customer service levels.

Maintain RODS Electronically

Although short-haul drivers are exempt from the ELD mandate, they are still required to keep an accurate account of the HOS records by recording working hours for your drivers and monitoring their compliance with the 150 air-mile radius limit for short-haul operations.

With an edge computing ELD and fleet management system, drivers are able to avoid manual paperwork, calculations, and tracking of the daily record of duty status. Utilizing a fleet management system with ELD capability also enables flexibility for drivers to pick up loads or trips that fall outside the short-haul exemption qualifications.

Lastly, by using a great ELD and Fleet Management system, the carrier or truck owner can prove with data that they were operating within the short-haul exception rules.

Keep Track of Drivers and Assets

With an edge computing 5G ELD system, fleet owners and admins are able to maintain full transparency of their fleet. Edge computing technology means that all data gathering and processing is done on the “edge” or at the source.

In the case of edge computing ELDs, this means the data processing and calculations are done within the cab of the truck. With this type of processing, carriers do not have to rely on a cellular network connection.

If a driver is in a rural location and loses cellular connectivity, the edge computing ELD will continue gathering data and as soon as the cellular network becomes available all data will be restored. The driver is always compliant, regardless of the cellular signal.

Real-time GPS is not only beneficial to the fleet owner and admins. FMCSA ELD exemptions shouldn’t overshadow how GPS and mapping capabilities are extremely important to the drivers. Short-haul carriers may be exempt from ELD but still need to know where they are going! An ELD with GPS, mapping, and commercial truck routing allows truck drivers to operate all within one “swiss army knife” mobile app.

While you may qualify for the short-haul exemption, there are numerous benefits to running an ELD and Fleet Management system. The data gathered from ELDs provides tremendous opportunities for building a more profitable trucking business.

In fact, those fleets that have the benefit of using a fleet management system have a major advantage over those that don’t. This gap is widening every day. If you are questioning whether or not ELD and Fleet Management is right for you and your fleet, please contact our team today.