For certain truckers, there is a 16-hour short-haul exemption that is available under certain circumstances.

Short Haul

A short-haul is a trucker who hauls a load and returns home the same day. These truckers may cross state lines, but they consistently return home every day. A trucker might have a lane between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but that trucker will likely return home every day.

The short-haul truckers are the drivers who benefit from this exemption.

How does this work?

The driver is permitted to extend the hours they are driving by 2 extra hours – under certain circumstances.

This rule does not change the requirement for breaks every 8 hours: if a trucker has been driving, they must take this break.

16 hour Short-Haul Exemption: more hours per day?

Yes, a driver will have 2 more hours per day but rules are in place to keep truckers from abusing the exemption.

  1. The driver must be a short-haul – that means usually they go home every night.
  2. The driver can only use this extension once a week, unless they’ve had the required 34-hour break since the last use.
  3. The trucker has 16 hours and then they must be released from duty.
  4. If a driver qualifies for a non-CDL short-haul exception, this rule doesn’t apply.

So what’s the point?

There are lots of ways that a trucker might not be able to complete a delivery in the time allotted.

  • Weather
  • Traffic
  • Shipper delays in the dock
  • Breakdowns.

None of these can be predicted by the driver. That’s an important part of this exception – you can’t plan for it. It’s meant for the random events that slow up a trip.

Reality Happens

The FMCSA hours of service were established to prevent exhausted drivers from causing accidents by falling asleep at the wheel. These hours of service still limit a driver to 11 hours per day, but recognize that things happen.

So if you’re in a situation that forces you to spend more time on the road, you can claim this exemption. You’re still required to take the 30-minute breaks during your shift.

ELD and the Exception

It’s important to keep track of your hours on your electronic logging device (ELD.) When you need to claim this exemption, you’ve got to be able to prove you haven’t used it in the previous week. That’s why keeping accurate logs is necessary.

How often do you check your ELD to be sure that the hours are correctly noted?

As a driver or owner-operator, you can’t edit your ELD, but you can make sure that they are accurate and represent what you were doing. Especially if you drive with a partner, it’s important the records represent who was driving at what time.

You don’t want to be caught in a situation with a law enforcement officer and not have your records ready for inspection.

Using a certified ELD, you won’t have to worry. The system will take care of you – as long as you take the time to check your records regularly.

Monitor Your Short Haul Drivers with Trucking Management Software

Short-haul truck drivers may have it easier in some ways because they are able to transport a load and return back home all in the same day. However, these truck drivers also work more hours in a single 24-hour period than others. Therefore, it’s particularly important to keep track of their ELD data to ensure they are not abusing the short-haul exemption.

By using TMS from you have the advantage of always knowing when your drivers are on the road and if they are complying with the short-haul exemption. Trucking management software provides you with peace of mind in knowing that you have one less thing to worry about when things become hectic around your trucking office location.

It is essential that all trucking companies maintain accurate logs for all their drivers, including short-haul drivers. You never want to end up in a situation where law enforcement is demanding you have records available for inspection and they aren’t there. By having a certified ELD app and TMS software, you will never have to worry about keeping track of your driver’s logs again. That’s because the software program will be there to organize and file everything for you in its proper place.

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