Round-up: Best safety device — you; Answering an ELD-exemption question

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Updated Feb 11, 2018

“No matter how fancy [your truck], no matter how new, the best safety device in your truck is you.” –Reader Paul Maine

Truer words have not been spoken on the subject of the false sense of security some drivers seem to be taking from the proliferation of advanced driver-assist systems in trucks and four-wheelers both. As he suggested, and as was a principle part of my blog talk with veteran “Mustang” Mike Crawford last week, don’t let them lull you to sleep, as Tesla’s Autopilot did for this apparently drunk four-wheeler on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

ELDs for an isolated trip?
Another reader wrote in with this question about whether an electronic logging device would be necessary under the terms of the ELD mandate for an isolated trip to pick up equipment for his farm:

I have a road truck and a lowboy trailer, all able to pass a DOT inspection. I live in central Florida. I might need to go to Texarkana.  I do not run commercially over-the- road but I need to pick up a wide load there and bring it back to my farm. I own both the truck and will be buying the load to bring home. Do I have to have an ELD?  I have no problem with a paper log, but I don’t want to run into some DOT guy trying to make a name for himself among his workers or supervisors. This would be a one-time trip and will have to get temporary permits for the trip.

In the ELD mandate rule, as we’ve written previously and of which most regular readers will be well aware, there is an exemption for CDL drivers who do not cross the short-haul 100-air-mile radius for more than 8 days in any rolling 30-day period. Assuming the trip would take you fewer than 8 days (seems as if it’s probably a three- or four-day trip, not knowing exactly your origin point), and you and the truck haven’t been operating commercially or beyond the radius where you’d need to keep logs in any of the preceding few weeks, I think it’s safe to say you wouldn’t need an ELD.

At once, I’ve heard of some state enforcement folks not understanding the ELD exemptions that exist (more on that later), but in general those stories have been few and far between to date.

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Keep logs for the trip and you ought to be OK with paper.

Anybody here encountered a similar situation? Sound off in the comments…