Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Association delays implementation of electronic logging device rule
An announcement on Nov. 20 eased the minds of many in the livestock industry after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice that truckers hauling agricultural loads and livestock will receive an additional 90 days to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation rules regarding electronic logging devices (ELD).
Livestock organizations called the announcement “very good news” and an opportunity to “continue dialogue to provide relief” for truckers in the livestock industry.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Craig Uden said, “This is a sign that the administration is listening to the concerns that we have been raising.”
Lia Biando of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) commented, “We look forward to continuing this dialogue with the agency to provide relief for transporters from the restrictive hours-of-service rules, a regulatory burden that will have a severe impact on the ability of livestock haulers to continue to do business in a way that is both economically feasible and ensures the utmost consideration for animal welfare and safety.”
NCBA and many other groups have emphasized 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.”
In a news release on Nov. 20, FMCSA released a series of seven bullets termed as “transition information” items to help truckers understand the process of transition to electronic logging devices.
“The ELD rule is going forward as planned on Dec. 18, 2017,” said FMCSA. “FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups and is primarily concerned with helping ease the transition to full implementation of the ELD rule in a manner that does not impeded the flow of commerce and maintains and improves safety for operators and the public.”
Among accommodations to ease the transition and in partnership with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), FMCSA also noted violations during the period of Dec. 18 to April 1, 2018 will not count against a carrier’s Safety Measurement System scores.
CVSA also noted that non-ELD compliant vehicles will not be placed out of service until April 1, as well.
In issuing a 90-day waiver to the agriculture industry for compliance with the rule, FMCSA added, “We have heard concerns specific to the transportation of agricultural commodities, especially the transportation of livestock. While those concerns are specifically related to the hours-of-service requirements and not ELD, we feel it is important to take additional time to evaluate those issues.”
The 90-day period will allow FMCSA to fully evaluate recently filed exemption requests and evaluate the ag industry’s concerns with the rule.
“In the coming weeks, FMCSA will publish guidance for comment relating to the application of the agricultural commodity hours-of-service exemption,” they stated, indicating guidance will also be provided on an existing 150 air-miles hours of service exemption to provide clarity for enforcement and industry.
Additional guidance will be published to develop consistent and uniform application of the ELD and hours of service rules.
USCA Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker said, “We’re confident, that upon further examination, the administration will find that livestock haulers need additional flexibility in the mandate, specifically in the restrictive hours-of-service rules.”
FMCSA commented, “Public participation in this guidance is essential to the process, so we ask for continued engagement from all impacted stakeholder groups across industries.”
Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, compiled this article from numerous press releases. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.