Livestock & AG Haulers FMCSA ELD Exemptions 101
A $1.3 trillion spending bill, passed by both chambers of the Congress and signed by President Trump, has extended the ELD exemption for livestock haulers. Livestock haulers now have until September 30, 2018, to comply with the ELD mandate.
For those of you who are new to this issue, here’s a bit of background:
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a mandatory ELD Final Rule effective December 18, 2017 for all trucks over the year 2000 required to complete paper logbooks. The ELD connects to the engine to log vehicle motion. It must be certified and registered with FMCSA. and law enforcement can get & transmit data when stopping trucks to view driver’s hours of service (HOS).
Why Is There An Agricultural ELD Exemption?
The FMCSA’s ELD mandate became effective on December 18, 2017. Under the current Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules, livestock haulers are allocated 11 hours of drive time and 14 hours of on-duty time. Once they’ve hit their hours, the ELD will force drivers off the road to take their mandatory 10-hour break.
Considering the unique challenges that livestock/ag haulers face, the FMCSA announced a short-term waiver for them that has now been extended until September 30, 2018.
The primary concern with the HOS rules and the ELD requirement is the effect on transporting agricultural products and livestock. Drivers put in long hours during harvest seasons and may need to perform multiple duties over the course of a day. Once picked, crops need to get to processing or storage quickly to ensure quality as weather can wreak havoc on them. Livestock cannot be left in a sitting trailer during extreme cold or heat without posing a threat to the animal’s well being.
Upcoming Changes To HOS Regulations
The FMCSA recently indicated that additional changes to hours of service regulations may soon be enacted to meet the continuing challenges that livestock and ag haulers face.
One of these is a recently introduced bill on the 150-air mile radius exemption. Under the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (H.R. 6079, S. 2938) , HOS and ELD requirements would be inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 150 air-miles from the driver’s source. The bill would also exempt loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time; grant flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting it against HOS time; allow drivers to complete their trip – regardless of hours of service requirements – if they come within 150 air-miles of their delivery point; and require the driver to take a break for a period that is five hours less than the maximum on-duty time, after he completes his delivery and the truck is unloaded.
Livestock / AG Haulers ELD Compliance Deadline Dates
- FMCSA’s ELD mandate became effective on December 18, 2017
- Short-term waiver: Livestock/ag haulers had until March 18, 2018
- First ELD waiver: ELD Exemption until June 18, 2018.
- September 30, 2018 extension for compliance
Ensuring Compliance With DriverLog ELD
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