Cattle Raisers, Secretary Perdue statements on continued ELD exemption
TSCRA President Richard Thorpe applauded U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Department of Transportation Wednesday for recognizing the concerns of ranchers and extending the agricultural exemption from the ELD mandate for an additional 90-days. “We continue to have serious concerns with the ELD mandate and its implications on hauling live animals, such as cattle. It is our hope that the additional time will allow DOT to develop livestock-specific solutions and still maintain safety on our roads,” Thorpe said.
“The safety record of those who carry our cattle is already commendable, but our industry needs time to develop transportation practices that build on our strong safety records and the unique challenges of moving living beings over long distances. We look forward to continuing to work with DOT to create regulations that support a safe and practical livestock transportation segment of our ag industry.”
In 2012, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act became law, requiring DOT to create and enforce an electronic logging device rule. As of December 2017, all motor carriers and drivers who are required to keep paper records were required to have installed an ELD in their trucks. Prior to implementation, DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) waived this regulation for agricultural haulers for 90 days, which, prior to the extension, would have expired March 18, 2018.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue also commented on Wednesday’s decision, saying, “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.”
BACKGROUND: Agriculture haulers operating within 150 air miles of the source of their agriculture products or livestock do not have to comply with DOT’s hours-of-service regulation, which limits driving hours to only 11 hours after being off duty for more than 10 consecutive hours. For more information on the hours-of-service exemption for agriculture shipments, visit this U.S. DOT webpage: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/eld-hours-service-hos-and-agriculture-exemptions.
For more information on agriculture commodities that are transported to domestic and foreign markets, visit this USDA webpage: www.ams.usda.gov/services/transportation-analysis.