FMCSA grants 90-day ELD waiver to ag haulers; requests comments on personal conveyance guidelines

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line Digital Content Editor | 12/15/2017

Agricultural commodities haulers will have an extra 90 days to comply with the electronic logging mandate set to take effect on Monday, according to a limited waiver issued Friday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced it has granted an exemption petition filed by the National Pork Producers Council on behalf of eight organizations representing transporters of livestock and other agricultural commodities. The waiver expires March 18.

The waiver applies to all eligible motor carriers that handle agricultural commodities as defined under 49 CFR 395.2. In its response granting the waiver, the agency also stated that it has received “numerous inquiries” about the correct application of hours-of-service exemptions and is considering providing new guidance “in the near future.”

Drivers covered by the waiver include those hauling “any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber or livestock.” Livestock is defined as “cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), fish used for food and other animals designated … that are part of a foundation herd or offspring.”

The waivers apply to all drivers hauling the aforementioned loads, regardless of their distance traveled or whether they cross state lines. The waiver does not apply to motor carries with conditional or unsatisfactory safety ratings. Drivers seeking to use the waiver must have a copy of it with them.

Barring action from the White House, the mandate will go into effect on Dec. 18. But OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says the fight isn’t over.

“Not only is this mandate overly broad at where the rubber meets the road, there simply is no safety gain from ELDs and quite likely the effect is negative,” Spencer said.

Personal conveyance
FMCSA also announced it is seeking comments on revised guidance for personal conveyance. The existing policy currently excludes the use of laden vehicles as personal conveyance. The proposed guidance change would eliminate the requirement that a commercial vehicle be unladen in order to be used for personal conveyance.

The agency is seeking public comment on other appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance, as well as information about segments of the industry would take advantage of the proposed changes. A formal comment period has yet begun.



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