Today’s Pickup: Ag haulers given 90-day ELD exemption, HOS changes

Agricultural haulers have been given a 90-day waiver from complying with the ELD mandate as FMCSA reviews an exemption request for the industry. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Agricultural haulers have been given a 90-day waiver from complying with the ELD mandate as FMCSA reviews an exemption request for the industry. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

FMCSA has made two recent changes to hours-of-service and ELD compliance that affects the agricultural community. Yesterday, FMCSA’s Joe DeLorenzo, director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, announced that the agency will issue a 90-day delay from compliance with the electronic logging device mandate to agricultural carriers so their concerns with meeting the requirement can be addressed.

A Federal Register Notice of the delay will be published along with a comment period, the agency said. Ag haulers have already submitted an exemption request from the rule. One reason, they argue, is that following strict HOS rules that are recorded electronically by ELDs could endanger cattle, which can be harmed by extended breaks in trailers.

DeLorenzo also reiterated that as of Dec. 18, violations for non-compliance with the ELD rule will be issued, but they will not count against a carrier’s Safety Measurement System score. As of April 1, 2018, drivers will be taken out of service for non-compliance.

Earlier in August, FMCSA adjusted the way it interprets hours-of-service compliance for ag haulers and, according to Matt Wells, associate director of the Mid-West Truckers Association, “notified, really no one. It was very subtly announced that they had changed the interpretation and expanded the interpretation,” he said, as reported by AgriNews.

The change allows ag haulers to drive 150 air miles from where they pick up an agricultural product without counting that against hour-of-service. For haulers going beyond the 150 air miles, that first 150 air miles will not count against their HOS, which would start once they extend that limit, effectively giving ag haulers an additional few hours of drive time.

“In August, FMCSA decided that if you are hauling agricultural commodities beyond the 150 air mile radius, you now have the ability, the entire time you are within 150 air miles of the source of your product, you will be ag exempt,” Wells said. “Once you are carrying it beyond that 150 air mile radius, once you reach what is actually 172 land miles from the source, you now turn on your logbook or start logging.”

According to Wells, the new interpretation allows drivers to turn their logbook on and off based on how close they are to their load.

Did you know?

Truckload shipping costs for linehaul only increased 5.5% to 132.5 in October, according to the Case Truckload Linehaul Index. It is the highest level since Case began tracking costs in 2005. Intermodal was up 1.9% to 132.8.

Quotable:

“We do feel that at this time, those items require us to give a little further consideration. They will continue like they are today with the same hours-of-service rules and report their hours of service on a paper record of duty status.”

- Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, on a 90-day waiver from the ELD rule for agricultural haulers

In other news:

Economic Index rises in October

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index outpaced economists’ expectations in October, rising 1.2% to 130.4. Economists were expecting a 0.9% increase. (Wall Street Journal)

Looking back on XPO’s expansion plans

XPO Logistics acquisition of Con-way in 2015 reveals a different sentiment among investors than it did at the time. (Bloomberg Gadfly)

Banyan Technology enlists top 3PLs in new freight matching platform

Banyan Technology expects to roll out a new tech platform next year that will match retailers and 3PLs with carriers nationwide, and said it has the help of three of the top five 3PLs in the industry. (DC Velocity)

EPA plan to exempt gliders from GHG rules causes ripples

Several industry players, including major engine makers, are objecting to EPA’s plan to exempt glider kits from the upcoming GHG Phase 2 rules, believing the plan undercuts their investments to meet the rules. (Trucks.com)

CFI creates new pay package for experienced drivers

Truckload carrier CFI has created a new “experienced driver” compensation package that aims to reward drivers – both current and new – for their experience. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Final Thoughts

Ag haulers achieved two big wins recently in their battle against strict HOS and ELD rules. FMCSA is now exempting the first 150 miles of travel for haulers after picking up a product from HOS rules and it also provided a 90-day waiver from the ELD rule to the industry as it more closely studies the impact of the rule. The 90-day waiver is a big win, as FMCSA is acknowledging that more study is needed and with the waiver, the chances of a permanent exemption increase.

Hammer down everyone!

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