Part 395.8 (iii)(A) – A motor carrier may require a driver to record the driver’s duty status manually in accordance with this section, rather than require the use of an ELD, if the driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle:
- In a manner requiring completion of a record of duty status on not more than 8 days within any 30-day period;
How will the Hours of Service ELD 8 Day Exception Rule affect your Fleet operations?
Simply stated, the 8 Day Exception Rule allows drivers to continue to keep paper logs if they drive, in a manner that would otherwise be subject to the rule, 8 days or less, in any given 30 day time period. Compliance is usually straightforward until a company has to deal with driver absenteeism of one sort or another. It could be a last minute driver shortage caused by sickness, vacation, personal day or some other legitimate reason. Whatever the cause, if your Dispatcher has deadlines to meet and is short one or two drivers to meet those deadlines, then your company’s vulnerability for going into non-compliance can increase very quickly. That’s because the FMCSA compliance model is based on a rolling 30-day period, not a fixed calendar-based month calculation. In these last minute situations, when being in a hurry to solve a problem might cause your management team to lose sight of the new mandate in HOS ELD compliance, it’s important to be prepared by planning ahead.
Will Driver Absenteeism put your team into non-Compliance with the Eight-Day Exception Rule?
- And, how will you know?
If you have drivers making use of the 8-day exception, that is, using paper logs because they are subject to the requirements of the new ELD only 8 or less days per every rolling 30 day period, you’ll need to be sure that your company is verifying the status of these drivers on a regular basis. Be aware that a sudden shortage of drivers on a particular day may throw your schedule for that day right “out the window”. It’s never a good practice to be forced by this kind of situation to make hurried & improvised decisions in the face of possibly going non-compliant. It’s really difficult to make sound, long-term decisions on the 7th day of a driver’s rolling 30 day period when another driver is out sick or has an emergency of some sort.
- After the Fact?
Could one of these drivers (or managers) become confused regarding compliance to 49 CFR part 395, take on a job for an absent driver, and then inadvertently fall into non-compliance? There are those in the industry & government who think that it’s all too possible. So how do you work around this?
In the interests of smooth & compliant operations, it may be that affected companies will want to be sure to have one or more extra ELD equipped vehicles in their fleet to pick up the slack during business peaks or times when drivers are legitimately out or unavailable. Or to put it another way, isn’t it possible that the cost of an HOS ELD system in an “extra” vehicle will be far lower than the cost of last minute schedule changes, driver and/or staff overtime and the last-minute setting up of a new ELD?
The simple answer is to obtain a fleet management system that includes a seamless HOS ELD functionality like ISR FleetTrack® – so your team is prepared & equipped for the unexpected.
ISR FleetTrack®: ELD/HOS Compliance is seamlessly integrated into our total fleet management solution. So there’s no need for Two Mobile Data Lines like in so many add-on third party ELD products. Increased cost-savings, reduced complexity for your team and a higher level of preparedness – for when the unexpected happens.