The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a 90-day waiver from the electronic logging device mandate for agricultural commodity transporters after hearing concerns from the agricultural industry, especially with regard to livestock transport.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden was pleased with the 90-day waiver of the ELD mandate for agricultural commodity transporters, saying how there is still major confusion on the agricultural exemption on hours-of-service, known as the 150 air-mile rule.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed Monday that for agricultural commodity transporters, it will issue a 90-day temporary waiver from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which is scheduled to kick into gear on Dec. 18.
The FMCSA said it has heard concerns specific to the transportation of agricultural commodities, especially regarding the transportation of livestock.
Such concerns are specifically related to the hours-of-service (HOS) requirements and not the ELD device itself, the FMCSA explained.
In the coming weeks, the FMCSA will publish guidance for comment regarding the application of the agriculture commodity HOS exemption. The FMCSA will also provide guidance on the existing 150 air miles HOS exemption. It said it will consider comments received before publishing final guidance. In addition, the FMCSA will publish guidance on another HOS issue, known as personal conveyance.
Back in September, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) sent a petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation on behalf of the nation’s pork industry and other livestock sectors, requesting a waiver and limited exemption from the ELD mandate. The NPPC said in the petition that livestock haulers are not and will not be prepared for the Dec. 18 deadline, and asked DOT to address incompatibilities between the transportation of livestock and the department’s HOS rules.
Commenting on the 90-day waiver, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden said Monday, “This is very good news for cattle and beef producers, and it’s a sign that the Administration is listening to the concerns that we have been raising. We’ve maintained for a long time that FMSCA is not prepared for this ELD rollout, that there needs to be more outreach from the Department of Transportation to the agricultural community, and that there’s currently still major confusion on the agricultural exemption on hours-of-service, known as the 150 air-mile rule.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) submitted to the FMCSA an exemption request from the ELD mandate for small-business truckers.
OOIDA requested at least a five-year exemption for motor carriers that meet the following criteria:
• The carrier is classified as a small business by the Small Business Administration;
• The carrier has a proven safety history with no attributable at-fault crashes;
• And the carrier does not have a carrier safety rating of “unsatisfactory.”
“A five-year exemption would provide necessary time for ELD manufacturers to be fully vetted by the agency, which would alleviate small-business motor carriers from learning that they purchased a device that could damage their vehicle’s electronic control module or be hacked,” OOIDA said.
Despite the controversial ELD mandate kicking off next month, FMCSA’s partners at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance have previously announced that all motor vehicles not in compliance with the mandate will not be placed out of service until April 1, 2018, giving the industry time to become acclimated with the new legislation.
As far as the outlook goes, long-haul carriers generally appear to not only be prepared for the ELD mandate, but have typically expressed support for ELDs. However, the drayage industry appears to be less prepared for the upcoming deadline, which could potentially drive up drayage costs and lead to delays at ports across the nation.
American Shipper provided in depth coverage on the fast approaching ELD mandate in its November magazine story, “Down to the wire.”