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FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver for Transporters of Ag Commodities & Additional Transition Guidance

Nathan Chesher  | Published on 3/14/2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Tuesday announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety.

 

The Agency is announcing an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance. FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.

 

“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,” said FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez.

 

Since December 2017, roadside compliance with the House of Service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96% in the most recent available data. There are over 330 separate self-certified devices listed on the registration list.

 

Beginning April 1, 2018 full enforcement of the ELD rule begins. Carriers that do not have an ELD when required 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.  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.

 

Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement related to the ELD rule:

 

 “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. This is a classic example of a one-size-fits-all federal regulation that ignores common sense to the detriment of sectors like agriculture.

 “I applaud Secretary Chao for recognizing these obstacles and giving extra time for compliance while DOT issues guidance. While public safety is a critical concern for all of trucking, the safety of living agricultural commodities in transport must also be considered.”

 For more information on ELDs please visit: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/eld

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