Several RV transport companies have reported being told by the Indiana Highway Patrol that an electronic logging device (ELD) is required for the return trip after a unit has been delivered to a dealership.
Mike Ochs, RV Industry Association’s director of federal affairs spoke to Thomas Yager, chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s driver and carrier operations division, who assured him that transporters returning empty back to the origin of the RV transport trip would continue to fall under the exemption from the ELD requirement. To say otherwise would negate the exemption. If a driver was transporting other goods (not an RV) on this return trip, however, the exemption would not apply.
The ELD exemption is a result of the recent FAST Act highway bill legislation which contained provisions exempting commercial vehicles involved in RV driveaway/towaway operations for motorhomes and travel trailers from the requirement to utilize an ELD. This exemption allows a driver to use paper records of duty status forms to record hours of service status.
Yager will contact the FMCSA enforcement office that oversees the state of Indiana to ensure that they are properly communicating the new law and the exemption to the Highway Patrol and the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.
RVIA’s staff attorney put together the following information on the issue:
The statute and regulations do not consider whether it is outbound or a backhaul. They only consider whether it is between certain locations. If you meet the previously mentioned requirements and you are exempt on the outbound going from location A to location B, then you would be exempt on the backhaul returning from location B to location A. There is nothing in the ELD exemption or in the definition of “driveaway-towaway operation” that considers whether the transportation is outbound or a backhaul. They are treated the same. Of course, if you pick up some other type of freight on the backhaul, the ELD exemption would not apply.
The definition of “driveaway-towaway operation” does not mention outbound or backhaul. It focuses on the two locations between which the motor vehicle is being transported.
If the carrier is transporting a motorhome or RV trailer under these conditions, then it meets that part of the definition of “driveaway-towaway operation”:
- Between vehicle manufacturer’s facilities
- Between a vehicle manufacturer and a dealership or purchaser
- Between a dealership, or other entity selling or leasing the vehicle, and a purchaser or lessee
- By means of a saddle-mount or tow-bar