The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) has been made aware of two issues involving the new regulations for transportation under the agricultural hours of service exemption. As previously reported, the provisions contained in the highway (MAP-21) went into effect on Oct. 1.
The first issue involves what is required at the state level to accept the changes that took effect Oct. 1. According to FMCSA, although the MAP-21 changes went into effect on Oct. 1, states cannot begin to change state laws/regulations until FMCSA issues a formal "final rule." At that time, the clock begins for states to take action and they have three years to take compatible action to remain eligible for Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) funding. The issue that has arisen is that some states have indicated that they will not recognize the new federal regulations until they have updated their state laws/regulations.
FMCSA is working to expedite the formal final rule and have strongly encouraged states to put into place policies in the interim. However, the final decision to put interim policies in place really lies with the individual states. It is suggested that you contact your state agency in charge to determine how they intend to handle the new agricultural hours of service exemption. If you experience difficulties, ARA would appreciate knowing.
The second issue involves the transportation of grain under the exemption. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) contacted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding second-stage movements of grain. Since many of you represent the grain and feed industry in your state, ARA wanted to make you aware of this information in the event you receive inquiries from your members. Grain could quality under the exemption in two ways: (1) as an agricultural commodity from the farm to the elevator; or, (2) as a farm supply if it is further moved for processing as feed. It is important to remember that the purpose of the transportation must be in furtherance to agriculture. Non-agricultural moves are not authorized under the agricultural hours of service exemption.
If you have any questions, please contact TFI's Guffain by telephone at (202) 515-2704 or via e-mail at email@example.com, or ARA's Gupton by telephone at (202) 595-1699 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.