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ELD for Hotshot Trucks: Simplifying HOS Management and Compliance

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Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) have become an essential tool for hotshot truck drivers. In 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated the use of ELDs to automatically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS). This regulation was put in place to simplify Hours of Service (HOS) management and ensure compliance with the set guidelines.

Hotshot drivers, like any other truck driver, are required to use an ELD unless they fall under certain exemptions. But why is it necessary for hotshot drivers to use an ELD? Let’s explore the reasons.

Understanding the 10,001-Pound Limit

One of the main reasons why most hotshot drivers should expect to use an ELD is the 10,001-pound limit. According to the FMCSA, any medium-duty truck that reaches or exceeds this weight limit is required to maintain RODS. This means that even when hotshot drivers are not carrying a load, their trucks often fall within this weight range, making them subject to the ELD mandate.

Hotshot trucks, also known as medium-duty trucks, are commonly used for transporting time-sensitive or smaller loads. These trucks are smaller in size compared to traditional semi-trucks but still have the capacity to carry significant weight. Due to their versatility and ability to quickly transport goods, hotshot trucks have gained popularity in various industries.

Benefits of ELDs for Hotshot Truck Drivers

While the ELD mandate may seem like an additional requirement for hotshot drivers, it brings several benefits that can enhance their operations and overall efficiency. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages:

1. Accurate Recordkeeping

ELDs provide a reliable and accurate method of recording a driver’s RODS. Gone are the days of manually filling out paper logs, which were prone to errors and tampering. With ELDs, the recording process is automated, reducing the chances of mistakes and ensuring the integrity of the driver’s logbook.

2. Simplified HOS Management

Managing Hours of Service can be a complex task for any truck driver. ELDs simplify this process by automatically tracking driving time, rest breaks, and other HOS-related information. This allows hotshot drivers to focus on their job without the added stress of manually calculating their hours and ensuring compliance with HOS regulations.

3. Improved Safety and Compliance

ELDs play a crucial role in promoting safety on the roads. By accurately recording a driver’s hours and enforcing rest breaks, ELDs help prevent driver fatigue and reduce the risk of accidents caused by drowsy driving. Additionally, ELDs ensure compliance with HOS regulations, reducing the likelihood of violations and associated penalties.

4. Streamlined Inspections

During roadside inspections, ELDs provide an easy and efficient way to present the driver’s RODS to law enforcement officers. Instead of sifting through stacks of paper logs, officers can quickly review the electronic records, saving time and minimizing disruptions to the driver’s schedule.

5. Enhanced Operational Efficiency

By automating the process of recording and managing HOS, ELDs contribute to increased operational efficiency for hotshot truck drivers. With accurate and real-time data, drivers can optimize their routes, plan their rest breaks more effectively, and make better-informed decisions to maximize productivity.

Exemptions for Hotshot Truck Drivers

While most hotshot drivers are required to use an ELD, there are a few exemptions to be aware of. The FMCSA has provided certain exceptions for specific situations or types of operations. Here are some common exemptions for hotshot truck drivers:

1. Short-Haul Exemption

Hotshot drivers who operate within a 150 air-mile radius and complete their work within 14 hours are exempt from using an ELD. This exemption is known as the short-haul exemption and is designed to accommodate drivers who frequently return to their starting location and do not exceed the maximum driving and work hours.

2. Non-CDL Exemption

Hotshot drivers who operate vehicles that do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are also exempt from using an ELD. However, it’s important to note that even if a hotshot truck falls under the non-CDL category, it may still be subject to the 10,001-pound weight limit requirement for RODS.

3. Agricultural Exemption

Some hotshot drivers who transport agricultural commodities may qualify for an agricultural exemption from the ELD mandate. This exemption is applicable during specific planting and harvesting seasons and allows for more flexible HOS regulations to accommodate the unique demands of the agricultural industry.


ELDs have become an essential tool for hotshot truck drivers, enabling them to simplify HOS management and ensure compliance with regulations. Despite a few exemptions, most hotshot drivers should expect to use an ELD due to the 10,001-pound weight limit requirement for maintaining RODS. The benefits of ELDs, such as accurate recordkeeping, simplified HOS management, improved safety, streamlined inspections, and enhanced operational efficiency, make them a valuable asset for hotshot drivers. By embracing ELD technology, hotshot truck drivers can optimize their operations and contribute to safer and more efficient transportation.