Ag News

Truckers hauling agricultural products get temporary waiver from ELD mandate

All agriculture-related long-haul drivers have a waiver from congressionally mandated electronic logging devices (ELDs) until June 18 following a waiver extension the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced March 13. 

“We are mindful of the unique work our agriculture community does and will use the following 90 days to ensure we publish more helpful guidance that all operators will benefit from,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said.

An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time for easier and more accurate records. During this 90-day waiver period, the FMCSA will publish final guidance on the agricultural 150-air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance.

ELDs are intended to ensure truckers observe the FMCSA hours of service limit of 11 hours of driving in a 24-hour period. Drivers can be on duty a total of 14 consecutive hours including the 11 hours of drive time. After 11 hours are reached, drivers must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again.

A provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 President Trump signed March 23 delays enforcement of the ELD mandate for haulers of living livestock and insects until Sept. 30.

Livestock, as defined by 49 Congressional Federal Registry 395.2, includes cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry, fish used for food and other animals designated by the secretary of agriculture that are part of a foundation herd or offspring.

Georgia Farm Bureau and many other ag organizations have urged the FMCSA and Congress to exempt livestock haulers from the hours of service rule since the ELD requirement would force drivers to choose between complying with FMCSA regulations and the safety of the animals being transported. Livestock being hauled long distances are vulnerable to temperature increases and the trailers livestock is hauled in are designed to cool the animals while the vehicle is in motion.