The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration new Electronic Logging Device requirements go into effect December 18. However, the agency provided a 90-day waiver for agricultural commodity and livestock transporters. But that 90-day waiver will not include transporters of farm supplies.
ELD systems synchronize with a vehicle's engine to more easily and accurately record driving time for hours of service requirements. The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). To ease the transition to ELDs, FMCSA has announced that any violations cited during the time period of December 18 to April 1, 2018, will only receive a fine and not count against a carrier's Safety Measurement Systems (SMS) scores.
FMCSA also announced that in advance of the Dec. 18, 2017, implementation of the ELD rule, and to further facilitate the transition to the rule by motor carriers, the agency will be providing guidance related to enforcement procedures during the ELD transition. These will include a 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities, formal guidance specifically pertaining to the existing Hours-of-Service exemption for the agricultural industry, and guidance on the "personal conveyance" provision.
The above announcement does not apply to transportation of farm supplies.
FMCSA will also provide guidance on the existing 150 air miles hours-of-service exemption in order to provide clarity to enforcement and industry. The guidance is designed to allow the industry to maximize the use of this statutory exemption. The agency will consider comments received before publishing final guidance.
49 CFR 395.1(k) provides exceptions from the HOS rules, during planting and harvesting periods as determined by the state, for the transportation of farm supplies for agricultural use from a wholesale or retail distribution point. The HOS regulations do not apply to the transportation of farm supplies operating completely within the 150-air-mile radius.
A driver transporting farm supplies is not required to use an ELD if they do not operate outside of the 150 air-mile radius for more than eight days during any 30-day period, or if the vehicle was manufactured before the model year 2000, provided they prepare paper logs on the days when they are not exempt from the HOS rules.
In an operation where drivers share vehicle(s) equipped with ELDs , a driver that is always exempt can use an "Exempt Driver" account.
ARA remains concerned with the impact this new regulation will have on the agricultural industry and has submitted a petition to the DOT seeking a complete exemption for agricultural retailer and distributors from this unfunded federal mandate.