Common ELD mandate misconceptions / questions



Many drivers and fleets believe that the ELD mandate is imposing new restrictions on drivers’ hours. That is not the case. All the rules regarding limits on driving time and required rest had been in place before the ELD mandate. However, having an electronic device on board is bringing the reality of those FMCSA rules to drivers’ attention in a new way.

14-hour rules

The ‘14-hour clock’ starts when the driver goes on duty. It does not stop until the 14 hours are finished. Resting for less than 8 consecutive hours OFF-Duty does not allow you to add those hours back to the 14.

The 14-hour limit means that once a driver comes back ON-Duty after 10 consecutive hours of OFF-Duty time, that driver cannot drive beyond 14 consecutive hours. This workday limit is the total number of hours a driver can work in a day and is designed to prevent driver fatigue. The 14 hours includes driving, rest limits, and various OFF-Duty breaks (i.e. getting lunch, mandatory rest limit,). This 14 consecutive hour driving window does not change even if the driver goes OFF-Duty to take a break or nap.

Sleeper berth rule

The Sleeper Berth refers to the cab in the back of the truck, which can contain a bed, desk, TV, and fridge. If drivers spend a 10 consecutive hours in the sleeper-berth, their 11 hour and 14 hour limits completely reset. Drivers who take less than a full 10 consecutive hours do not get a full reset. Drivers who take 8 consecutive hours can take advantage of the ‘sleeper birth split’ rule (see below).

Split sleeper berth rule

Most drivers and fleets believe that the split sleeper berth rule will give them a full set of new hours once they complete the ‘8 and 2 split.’ This is not true.

To gain hours using the split sleeper berth rule, drivers must spend at least one of the two required rest periods in their sleeper berth. The rest period in the sleeper berth must be at least 8, but less than 10 consecutive hours. This 8 consecutive hour rest period will not count against your 14 hour duty clock. The other, separate rest period must be at least 2 consecutive hours. It can be spent in the sleeper berth and/or off duty. However, this 2 hour period will count against the 14 hour on duty limit. That’s why the 8 and 2 split does not provide a full set of new hours.

Automatic Drive Mode

Some drivers believe  they should be able to set the speed at which their ELD automatically switches to DRIVING status. However, according to FMCSA regulations, an ELD must automatically switch to driving mode once the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is moving at five miles per hour. Some drivers feel this places a new restriction on when driving hours begin, but in reality, FMCSA rules had always stated that once a vehicle is moving above 5 mph, driving has begun.

7-day vs. 8-day rules

7-day drivers usually only work Monday to Friday and get 60 hours to work. 8-Day drivers work Monday through Friday and get 70 hours to work. The 60/70-hour limit governs how many hours a truck driver can work in a week. This limit is based on a rolling 7-day or 8-day period. In other words, drivers have a limited number of hours they can be ON-Duty per cycle (week). Drivers cannot drive after they have reached 60/70 hours of ON-Duty time in 7 or 8 consecutive days. The 60/70-hour limits will reset after you have taken 34 hours of consecutive off duty status. Again, this requirement was in place before the ELD mandate.

For a detailed explanation see:

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