ELD Annotations: Exemptions

Read this compliance brief for suggested annotations that explain log exemption edits.
J.J. Keller Industry Consultant Tom Bray

Tom Bray - Industry Consultant - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

August 20 , 2019

Regulations governing electronic logging devices (ELDs) require drivers and other motor carrier personnel to enter certain annotations into the ELD record. Annotations — comments added to a driver’s ELD record — are used to explain any special exemptions that apply, any edits that were made, or any other special circumstances that exist.

The trouble is, the hours-of-service regulations offer no guidance on what the annotations should say, and annotations are restricted to just 60 characters. This can make it difficult to decide how to write one.

Why Annotations are Important

Some annotations are mandatory, like when submitting records during a roadside inspection or editing a record. Others simply offer an explanation. An annotation is “regulation speak” for “entering a comment.”

A well written annotation will explain what was going on during a specific occurrence or a driver’s day. Perhaps a driver hit heavy traffic and used the “adverse conditions” exception or forgot to switch to “personal use” when driving to a local restaurant for lunch. Without an annotation, it may appear to anyone reviewing the record that there is a violation or falsification. This makes a properly written annotation vital to compliance.

The following are suggested annotations that drivers and ELD administrators can use to explain exceptions or exemptions. Keep in mind that annotations should be clear, concise, and refer to a regulation whenever possible.

Annotations for Drivers Exempt From Most Safety Regulations, Including HOS:

Reason for Exemption

Suggested Annotation

School bus operation (home to school, school to home) School bus operation 390.3(f)(1)
Non-commercial transportation of personal property Non-commercial, personal property 390.3
Transporting deceased/sick/injured persons Transporting corpse/sick person/injured person 390.3(f)(4)
Fire truck or rescue vehicle engaged in emergency operations Engaged in emergency rescue/fire operations 390.3(f)(5)
9- to 15-passenger CMV, not used for direct compensation <16 passenger vehicle, no direct compensation 390.3(f)(6)
Propane winter-heating fuel delivery in response to an emergency condition Emergency propane heating-fuel delivery 390.3(f)(7)
Pipeline emergency response Pipeline emergency response 390.3(f)(7)

Annotations for Drivers Exempt From All HOS:

Reason for Exemption

Suggested Annotation

Emergency conditions Emergency 395.1(b)(2): ________ [enter explanation of the emergency]
Agricultural exemption Ag commodities/Farm supplies, 150-air-mile, 395.1(k)
Utility service vehicle exemption Utility service vehicle; HOS exempt 395.1(n)
Covered farm vehicle exemption Covered farm vehicle; HOS exempt 395.1(s)

Annotations for Drivers Exempt From Certain HOS Provisions

Reason for Exemption

Suggested Annotation

Adverse driving conditions Adverse conditions 395.1(b): _________ [enter reason for unexpected delay, and location, such as: Snow, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather or road conditions; Unusual traffic, such as caused by a crash]
Driver-salesperson Driver-salesperson 395.1(c)
Oilfield equipment 24-hour restart Oilfield equipment, 24-hr restart 395.1(d)(1)
Oilfield waiting time for specialized equipment Oilfield waiting time 395.1(d)(2)
100-air mile exception 100-air mile time record 395.1(e)(1)
150-air mile exception for non-CDL drivers 150-air mile time record 395.1(e)(2)
Local retail store deliveries during Christmas season (Dec. 10-25) Retail store deliveries, 100 air mile radius 395.1(f)
Split sleeper-berth option Split sleeper-berth 395.1(g)
Split rest break using sleeping accommodation at a natural gas or oil well site Split break, slept at oil/gas well location 395.1(g)(2)
Split break for passenger-carrying vehicle with sleeper berth Split rest in bus sleeper berth, 395.1(g)(3)
Alaska - property-carrying vehicle Alaska HOS 395.1(h)(1)
Alaska - passenger-carrying vehicle Alaska HOS 395.1(h)(2)
Groundwater well drilling 24-hour restart Groundwater well drilling rig 24-hr restart 395.1(l)
Transportation of construction materials and equipment in a 75-air-mile radius, 24-hour restart Construction materials/equipment 24-hr restart 395.1(l)
Short-haul 16-hour exception allowed once per week Short-haul 16-hour limit 395.1(o)
TV/movie production exception TV/movie HOS 395.1(p)
30-minute break exception for Div. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 explosives 1.1/1.2/1.3 explosives; break may be on duty 395.1(q)
30-minute break exception for ready-mix concrete Ready-mix; 30-min break may be on duty 395.1(t)
30-minute break exemption for bee transportation Transporting bees; exempt from 30-min break 395.1(u)
30-minute break exemption for livestock transportation Transporting livestock; exempt from 30-min break 395.1(v)
Hi-rail exception for transportation to/from duty assignment Hi-rail CMV; to/from duty assignment 395.1(w)
Personal conveyance (if “Personal use” driving category is not selected in the ELD) Personal use: __________ [enter a brief explanation of the personal use, to justify its use]

Annotations for Drivers Exempt From ELD Use:

Reason for Exemption

Suggested Annotation

ELD exempt: driver not required to log more than 8 days in 30 consecutive days ELD exempt; logs <8 days in 30 - 395.8(a)(1)(iii)
ELD exempt: driven vehicle is being delivered via driveaway/towaway operation ELD exempt: driven unit being delivered 395.8(a)(1)(iii)
ELD exempt: motor home or RV trailer being delivered via driveaway/towaway operation ELD exempt: motor home/RV being delivered 395.8(a)(1)(iii)
Covered farm vehicle exemption Covered farm vehicle; HOS exempt 395.1(s)

Drivers and Annotations

Some ELDs may automatically account for the use of some of these exemptions and may make manual annotations unnecessary. Drivers should check with their safety office for details. When applicable, and as space allows, drivers should also enter a document number for any documentation (e.g., shipment number, BOL number, work order number, etc.) that can support their claim of an exemption.


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