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Yard Moves: Understanding ELD Mandate Rules

ELD Mandate Rules – What are the Special Driving Categories?

As most in the trucking industry know by now, the federal ELD mandate rules create two separate special driving categories called “authorized personal use” of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), and “yard moves.”  Use of these driving categories is both authorized and regulated under the ELD rules, but their use is not required.


“authorized personal use” of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and “yard moves”

These two categories provide some needed flexibility by allowing “authorized personal use” of a CMV to be electronically recorded as off-duty time on line 1, when that category is allowed by a company and selected by one of its drivers.  And, if allowed and used, the “yard moves” category is authorized by the rules to be electronically recorded as on-duty, not driving time on line 4.

It’s clear that much of the industry will use these categories because they are both common and central to how the industry operates.  And, while the discussion (perhaps even debate) will likely continue about just what is “authorized personal use” (more commonly called “personal conveyance”), the question over what constitutes a “yard” under the ELD rules was recently answered by FMCSA.  And, the answer might not be what you expected.


So, What is a “Yard”?

During the rule making process, FMCSA considered but then chose not to provide a definition of a “yard.”  And, importantly, in follow up questions to FMCSA earlier this year, the agency chose not to provide any thoughts or guidance on the term “yard”.  Wait…what?  It probably bears repeating and emphasizing—FMCSA chose not to define or provide any guidance on the term “yard” for the purposes of the “yard moves” driving category.  So, without a federal definition or guidance, trucking companies have the opportunity to define a “yard” for their own operations, and they should also consider providing instructions and training to their drivers on whether, where and when they may select and use the “yard moves” driving category.

A yard could be limited by a trucking company to its own terminals or company facilities.  Or, a yard could be expanded beyond that to include:

  • a customer’s yard;
  • a receiver’s facility;
  • a maritime terminal;
  • a rail ramp;
  • a drop yard; or,
  • any other similar location or facility.

No matter how each trucking company defines a yard, and uses the “yard moves” category, a critical item to address with drivers is that they must remember to select and unselect the “yard moves” category on the ELD for it to properly record the driving time on a yard as on-duty, not driving time.

Looking for more information on how to become compliant with the ELD Mandate? Visit our ELD Resource Page to learn more about the mandate and to contact our team to answer any additional questions you may have.