When concerns were raised about the effect of the electronic logging device mandate on agricultural transportation, the National Pork Producers Council submitted a waiver request on the behalf of eight organizations that deal with livestock transportation. On Dec. 15, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation granted a 90-day waiver for agricultural haulers to comply with the mandate.
The waiver expires on March 18. The waiver is not a blanket exemption; drivers must be either unrated or have a satisfactory rating to qualify. Carriers must comply with all other applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations including the preparation of records for duty status for operations currently subject to hours of service rules.
An ELD is a device on the vehicle that attaches to the engine and automatically monitors the time an engine is running and the mileage it’s driven. The ELD will replace the current paper logbooks to ensure accurate recording of driving and working hours.
As it stands, drivers have a 14-hour work period, while only 11 of those hours can be spent actually driving. Once that time has expired, drivers have a mandatory 10-hour break before they can resume driving.
“The way it’s going to affect us mostly is when we go in to pick up at these shows,” said Jack Williams, who owns Beacon Hill Transportation. “You go to a horse show, and they tell you 3 o’clock, and you know how horse shows go, they get more entries, drag breaks are longer, and they hold you up for three or four hours. Then you could run into a problem at the other end and not be able to get back to the farm or get back to the yard. That’s going to be the biggest problem. That and the one-day shows where you sit all day, and you have to wait for the horses and then go back to the farm and then get back to your yard.”
“FMCSA has determined that it is in the public interest to provide a limited waiver from the use of ELDs for interstate motor carriers engaged in the transportation of agricultural commodities as defined in 49 CFR 395.2,” read a report by the FMCSA. “This waiver will allow FMCSA time to evaluate the HOS exception applicable to the transport of agricultural commodities and review the concerns unique to the agricultural industry identified by the NPPC and others.”