The Electronic Logging Device mandate has been one of the most-discussed topics in the livestock sector over the past couple of months, largely sparked by concerns from farmers and ranchers who regularly travel for shows or who operate on ranches located more than 150 miles apart. In response to the outcry and amid the push for more discussion, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided to give a 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture-related transportation.
FMCSA announces an additional 90-day waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation to ensure the agency can provide more guidance that all operators will benefit from. https://t.co/bR4n44tPzu pic.twitter.com/SarHW2AuJW
— FMCSA (@FMCSA) March 13, 2018
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue immediately applauded Elaine Chao, his counterpart at the Department of Transportation, for this extension.
“The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” Perdue said. “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 ELD rule went into effect in December 2017, with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) granting the agriculture industry an initial exemption that was set to expire on March 18, 2018. According to the rule, agriculture haulers operating within 150 air miles of the source of their agriculture products or livestock do not have to comply with DOT’s hours-of-service regulation, which limits driving hours to only 11 hours after being off duty for more than 10 consecutive hours. Particularly in the more sparsely populated Plains and Western states, large numbers of farmers and ranchers must regularly travel more than 150 miles away as basic elements of their jobs.
“Current ELD technologies do not recognize the hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture that are in federal law. This is a classic example of a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that ignores common sense to the detriment of sectors like agriculture,” Perdue said.
Additionally, there has been concern that in extreme hot or cold weather, being forced to take a 10-hour break with animals in a trailer will be detrimental to their health and will hurt the agricultural business.
The updated waiver and guidance will be published in the Federal Register.