The Short Haul Exemption—What You Need to Know to Stay HOS Compliant

Updated October 19, 2017

Running short haul and worried about how Hours of Service rules and the ELD mandate apply to you?

Let’s take a look at the short haul exemption and clear up your questions.


Are you exempt from using ELDs?

According to language in the final regulation, if you’re running short haul, you’re not required to maintain RODS and, therefore, won’t need to log your hours with an ELD unless you break the rule more than eight times in a 30-day rolling period. If you do break the rule more than eight times, you will need an ELD to log your hours until you get back to the number of eight or fewer in a 30-day period.

So, how does the FMCSA define short haul?

Your simple short haul definition

There are a few key components required to meet the FMCSA definition for short haul.

You must:

  • Start and return to same location within 12 hours of duty time
  • Drive no more than 11 hours
  • Have ten consecutive hours off between shifts
  • Maintain your time clock function
  • Not exceed a 100-mile radius from your starting location

The advice here is to take a look at the routes and see how many times you exceed 100 miles (maybe a new contract), need more than 12 hours in a day, or just don’t make it back to your starting location.

No longer qualify for a short haul exemption?

When you exceed your 12 hours of duty time or travel beyond a 100-mile radius of your “home base,” you’re required to maintain a RODS. And, when the ELD mandate goes into effect, that will mean logging those hours on an electronic logging device.

Remember, if you have the need for using the 16-hour exemption in any one day, that requires maintaining RODs for those days. You only get one of those in a seven-day period unless you have a 34-hour reset. So, if you use once a week, that is for one of the eight days the exemption broke.

Other criteria to qualify for the 16-hour exemption is that you get discharged no later than the 16th hour of coming on duty from the same location you started and started at the same location the previous five days. This does not extend drive time, only drive time for two hours.

Break it up

There has been some confusion among truck drivers about 30-minute rest breaks when they cease to use the short haul trucking exemption mid-run.

To clarify:

  • If you break any short haul exemption rules before the 8th hour of on duty, then you need to take your 30-minute rest break before you drive into your 8th hour.
  • If you break a short haul exemption after the 8th hour, then you need to take the 30-minute rest break prior to your 14th hour on-duty and notate your log with an explanation of why you didn’t take that break earlier.

Staying Hours of Service compliant

Ensuring Hours of Service compliance may feel like an art form, but we’re here to make accurate, compliant driver logs a science — and far less burdensome one at that.

For more information about the ELD Mandate short haul exemption, view this Fleet Owner on-demand webinar.