Ag News

DOT grants temporary ag waiver from ELD rule

On Nov. 21 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued guidance on the Congressionally mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule, including a 90-day waiver from the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities and formal guidance specifically pertaining to existing hours of service exemption for the agricultural industry.

The ELD rule will be implemented on Dec. 18.

On Nov. 2, Georgia Farm Bureau wrote to Sen. Johnny Isakson in support of an exemption, pointing out a conflict between the hours-of-service rules and guidelines for the welfare of animals being transported. Under the ELD rule, drivers would be limited to driving no more than 11 straight driving hours. Once a driver reaches 11 hours, he or she must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours.

Livestock haulers are responsible for daily transportation of millions of animals, GFB wrote, noting that many livestock farms are located in remote rural areas and routinely require long hauls to transport animals, which are vulnerable to temperature increases. Under industry guidelines, drivers should avoid stops while hauling livestock in warmer weather because the trailers are designed to cool the animals while the vehicle is in motion. The ELD requirement would force drivers to choose between complying with FMCSA rest regulations and the safety of their animals.