The deadline for compliance with a mandate requiring electronic logging devices on commercial trucks is less than two weeks away, but that hasn’t slowed the stream of requests for delays and exemptions to the rule.
Agriculture and livestock groups continue to push for exemptions and delays for truckers working in the transportation of food stuffs, insects or animals.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of 20 U.S. Senators, led by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in support of a delayed implementation of the ELD mandate for truckers hauling livestock and insects.
The bipartisan group supports a provision in the U.S. House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that would delay implementation of the mandate to address animal welfare concerns.
“Long-distance transportation is often the most stressful event in a livestock animal’s life, and it is impractical and inhumane to stop, offload multiples times, or significantly delay delivery of these animals,” the senators wrote. “While some commercial operators without live cargo may have the ability to more easily transition from paper logbooks to ELDs, the pending mandate will have negative consequences on livestock haulers and hinder the ability of this unique subset of the industry to humanely deliver healthy livestock.”
The letter also was signed by U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; and James Lankford, R-Okla.
Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a 90-day temporary waiver from compliance on vehicles transporting agricultural commodities in order to provide additional guidance on the 150-air mile radius agricultural exemption.
On the same day the senators sent their letter, the American Quarter Horse Association sent a letter to the FMCSA requesting a one year delay of the mandate.
In the letter, AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines said the exemption was necessary due to “substantial concern over apparent incompatibilities between the (hours of service) rule and the realities of livestock hauling.”
“Despite its being issued nearly two years ago, awareness for this rule is low among the equine industry,” Huffhines’ letter stated. “The lack of outreach by the FMCSA to livestock industry stakeholders has led to this lack of awareness.”
While these delay and exemption requests may be livestock-specific, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says the concerns are “further proof that the mandate is flawed and not ready to be implemented.”
“A one-size-fits-all approach to trucking simply doesn’t work,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “FMCSA’s mandate fails to recognize or accommodate the diversity of the trucking industry.”
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