New Rules For The Road

So you’ve probably heard some buzz about the new laws for hauling horses. CDL’s, CMV’s, ELD’s & all the other acronyms. And it can all be very confusing. We wanted to take just a few moments to try & sort things out a bit.

We found the article at Extension Horses to be very helpful in breaking down what you need to know.


So let’s start with those acronyms:

CDL = Commercial Drivers License. To drive certain types of commercial motor vehicles in the United States, the federal government requires drivers to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

CMV = Commercial Motor Vehicle. A commercial vehicle is a type of motor vehicle that may be used for transporting goods or passengers. A CMV is defined as:

  • A single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • A combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more if the vehicle(s) towed has a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Vehicles that carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Any size vehicle that transports hazardous materials &that requires federal placarding

ELD = Electronic Logging Device. This device automatically records the number of hours a driver spends behind the wheel. In its simplest form, an electronic logging device — or ELD — is used to electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS), which replaces the paper logbook some drivers currently use to record their compliance with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements.
Fleets had until December 2017 to implement certified ELDs to record HOS.
Fleets that were already equipped with electronic logging technology (AOBRDs) before December 2017 have until December 2019 to ensure compliance with the published specifications.

So, where does that leave you? More confused? Hang in there…it will all come together.

Basically, you only need an ELD (electronic logging device) if your trailer is a CMV (commercial motor vehicle)


Is my trailer a CMV? 

  • YES- If your vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 lbs.
  • YES- If you haul someone else’s horses in your trailer & accept money to offset the costs.
  • YES- If you haul a horse to show with the intent to win prize money.
  • YES- If you are a professional trainer & use your truck & trailer for business purposes.
  • YES- If you write off your truck & trailer as a business expense.

Do I need a CDL to haul my horses?

  • YES- If a combination of your vehicles is a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 26,000lbs, and the GVWR of your trailer being towed is over 10,000lbs.
  • YES- If you haul any single vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000lbs.
  • NO- If your truck weighs 11,000lbs & your horse trailer has a GVWR of less than 15,000lbs, you DO NOT need a CDL.

So, are there situations when I don’t need an ELD?

  • YES- If you are not driving more than 11 hours.
  • YES- If you, the driver, take 10 consecutive hours off between driving shifts.
  • YES- If you start & return your drive to the same location within 12 hours-time.
  • YES- If you drive within a 100 air-mile radius (as the crow flies) from the normal starting work location.

The Bottom line!

In general, these rules do not apply to the occasional short-haul transportation of horses, provided it is not for compensation or commercial purposes. Basically, if you are hauling for recreational purposes or not showing for prize money, you are exempt from the ELD mandate.

For more information:

American Horse Council Brochure on ELD’s

Part 390-Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations



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