Agricultural sector gets another 90-day ELD waiver

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An additional 90-day waiver has been granted to the U.S. agricultural industry by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to comply with the ELD mandate.

The extension, announced by FMCSA Tuesday, cited the “unique needs of the country’s agricultural industries” in granting the extension. A first 90-day extension from the implementation of the ELD rule was to expire March 18. Full enforcement of the rule begins April 1 after a soft launch on December 18.

“Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance,” FMCSA said in its statement. “FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.”

Requests for comments to that possible rule change was closed last month, but the specifics can still be found at

The 150 air-mile rule allows the transportation of agricultural products within a 150 air-mile radius—about 172 miles over the road—without needing ELD usage. However, the rule is considered complicated, and two FMCSA officials recently used a webinar to discuss some of its intricacies.

Reaction in the agricultural community was, not surprisingly, positive. “The current wavier, which was set to expire March 18, did not provide the necessary time for FMCSA to educate agricultural haulers as well as local carrier enforcement personnel,” Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said in a prepared statement. “The decision to offer an additional extension also provides the agency with more time to examine this regulation and work with the agricultural community to address some of our concerns related to ELD’s and hours of service regulations.”

The National Pork Producers Council, in its statement, spelled out some of the specific reasons why an ELD rule might have particular difficulties in the livestock sector. NNPC said it had asked for the extension in a request to FMCSA administrator Raymond Martinez. “Because livestock such as pigs are vulnerable to health issues triggered by extreme temperatures, long-established industry standards preclude drivers from stopping while hauling animals, and that could run them afoul of the ELD and Hours of Service rules,” NNPC said.

The Hours of Service rule that limits driver time on the road is not new and has not been changed. However, the assumption in the industry is that the more precise record-keeping of the ELD will make getting around it difficult, and in turn costly if fines are incurred.

The FMCSA release announcing the extended waiver took the opportunity to tout current levels of compliance with the rule. Roadside compliance with the record-keeping rule, which also allows non-ELD devices, such as an Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRD), reached 96% in roadside checks in “the most recent available data.”

The clarification of the rule for the agricultural sector also will involve answering concerns about the “personal conveyance” rule, which involves the use of a truck as personal transportation rather than as a hauler of freight.


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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

One Comment

  1. You said the rules have not changed just the way of keeping up with them that’s not true we’ve never had a set clock of 14hours to do our job
    We don’t mind useing a electronic log so you can make sure we don’t get out here and drive a stupid amount of hours without a break we just want you to give us our old rules back and take the 14 hour rule off the board we need flexibility to do what we do we don’t work in a factory where we can go to work at 8till5 and go home we have places to deliver to at deferent times we need to be able to stop and take a four or five hour break and still work 8 or 10 more hours if need be
    If the people trying to make the rules will get out here and live our life and do our jobs for six months to a year before they try to change everything they will see there is nothing safe about what they have done to our rules
    They have put drivers under pressure that they have to go now even if they need to take a nap for a couple of hours they feel like they can’t
    I have seen more drivers driving all over the road sence this started than ever before
    If you done this to stop outlaw truckers from running overnight runs and doing drugs you are not doing it they are still doing it
    It’s the same as always you punish the people that are doing what they are supposed to do and the bad guy is still the bad guy give us a break put the old rules back take the 14 hours away and let us do our jobs
    Thanks For Letting Me Have My Say
    Johnny Miller

  2. Johnny ..the insurance companies pushing this do not care about safety..only compliance…they want to make sure that every crash and burn happens while driver had hours to run thus avoiding huge liability