• ITVI.USA
    13,798.790
    84.450
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.270
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  • OTVI.USA
    13,773.890
    87.510
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  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
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  • ITVI.USA
    13,798.790
    84.450
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.660
    -0.270
    -1.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,773.890
    87.510
    0.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    -0.040
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
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American ShipperShipping

FMCSA green lights another ELD waiver for ag haulers

Agricultural haulers were granted an additional 90-day waiver from the electronic logging device rule, just days before the first waiver was set to end March 18.

   The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Tuesday announced an additional 90-day waiver from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for agriculture related transportation.
   Additionally during this time period, the FMCSA will publish final guidance on the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service (HOS) exemption, as well as personal conveyance.
   The first 90-day waiver for the agricultural industry was set to end March 18.
   In a push to keep the exemption going, a group of 26 organizations representing the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain wrote a letter to FMCSA Administer Ray Martinez on Feb. 20, requesting a further extension of two years to the ELD waiver for agricultural transporters, among other actions.
   The organizations said they were concerned with the conditions of the state of the fresh produce transportation industry, noting how there have been considerable increases in transportation costs for fresh produce, resulting from the ELD mandate, driver shortages and other issues.
   Commenting on the second 90-day ELD waiver for agricultural haulers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities. If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination. The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers.
   “Current ELD technologies do not recognize the hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture that are in federal law,” Perdue added. “This is a classic example of a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that ignores common sense to the detriment of sectors like agriculture.”
   The ELD mandate kicked into gear on Dec. 18, 2017. Drivers currently not in compliance with the mandate can receive citations, but effective April 1, drivers not in compliance will be placed out of service.
   “The driver will remain out-of-service for 10 hours in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance criteria,” the FMCSA said. “At that point, to facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop and should not be dispatched again without an ELD. If the driver is dispatched again without an ELD, the motor carrier will be subject to further enforcement action.”
   ELDs are designed as a replacement for traditional paper logbooks to record HOS by synchronizing with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time. The devices make it harder to falsify HOS records, meaning that drivers previously exceeding HOS are no longer able to do so, which is further contributing to tightened capacity in the trucking industry, coupled with the fact that many drivers do not want to make the change over to ELDs (due to the cost of ELDs, the fact that its unclear if the ELDs they purchase will even be compliant, and because some just don’t want change).
   On Feb. 28, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), a long-time opponent of the ELD mandate, sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure to “urgently conduct” an oversight hearing on the implementation of the ELD mandate.
   OOIDA Acting President and CEO Todd Spencer said in the letter to the committee, on behalf of the trucking group, that since the mandate took effect, truckers have informed the group of many problems they have experienced in relation to the devices.
   However, just yesterday, the FMCA said that since December 2017, roadside compliance with the HOS record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96 percent in the most recent available data. “We continue to see strong compliance rates across the country that improve weekly, but 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,” Martinez said.