Logging Trucks and Electronic Logs:
Minnesota Loggers Exempt in Certain Situations
The following information was gathered through consultations with personnel from the Minnesota State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
While new federal regulations require most US commercial trucks and passenger buses to be equipped with Electronic Log Devices (ELDs) by the end of this year, most Minnesota logging trucks are exempt from the provision, thanks to state statute.
An ELD automatically records driving time, and monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information. The device replaces paper logs long used by truck drivers.
However, Minnesota law has long exempted the transportation of “pulpwood, cordwood, mining timber, poles, posts, decorator evergreens, wood chips, sawdust, shavings, and bark from the place where the products are produced to the point where they are to be used or shipped,” from hours of service regulations. The exemption applies only for truck travel within Minnesota (INTRA-state commerce).
If a logging truck leaves Minnesota and enters into INTER-state commerce, different regulations apply. Federal statute allows exemptions from hours of service for log trucks that include staying within a 100 air-mile radius, and working no more than 12 hours. However, other federal requirements kick in when hauling from Minnesota into another state, including unified carrier registration (UCR), fuel tax payments, etc. For more information on hauling into one of our neighboring states or Canada, contact the TPA office.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), on the days a driver leaves the state and exceeds 100 miles or 12 hours, a paper log will suffice and be required as it has in the past. If the paper log is needed more than eight times in any 30 day period, an ELD will be required.
Though not required for logging trucks in INTRA-state commerce, some truck owners may find ELDs useful, including for fleet management reasons. The federal rule regarding ELDs strictly prohibits “commercial driver harassment,” by including both procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs.
In some cases, ELDs have been installed in trucks in which the person operating the vehicle is in an exempt status from hours of service. An example of this is an owner-operator who leases on with a company, but also is a farmer and uses his/her own truck in the fall to haul their own grain. Similarly, a logger who one day a week travels to Wisconsin and is required to log his/her hours, but isn’t required to log hours the other days he/she is operating. Federal statute (CFR 395.28, subdivision 1 and 2) states that a motor carrier may configure an ELD to authorize a driver to indicate that the driver is operating a CMV under special driving considerations, including personal use and yard moves. The driver is responsible for using the applicable special driving category when allowed, and describing the activity. It is important the driver use the federal exemption, [395.1(r)], and not the Minnesota exemption (unless the driver is only intrastate). Minnesota statute wouldn’t be recognized in Wisconsin or any other state.
FMCSA’s website on ELDs is at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices .
In addition, FMCSA provided the following documentation which address this issue in greater detail: