ELD Requirements In Effect For Ag Retail

The Electronic Logging Device final rule went into effect on Monday, December 18. Now all vehicles and drivers that were previously required to fill out paper logs will be required to have either a grandfathered AOBRD (Automated On-Board Recording Device) or an ELD. No hours of service rules were changed because of the ELD rule.

These new rules do not apply to ag retail drivers that fall under the HOS agricultural exemption in place during a state's planting and harvesting seasons and transporting farm supplies within a 150-air-mile radius to and from distribution points.

Other ELD exemptions include drivers who use paper records of duty status (RODS) for not more than eight days out of every 30-day period; drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000 (as reflected on the vehicle registration). Click here to learn more about the ELD exemptions and other frequently asked questions.

As the new rule went into effect, Asmark Institute is reporting The National Registry website has been down for more than 2 weeks this month with no way for motor carriers to verify their physicians. Their website has been up and down sporadically with no note to the users that helps explain why, or with instructions of what to do. The Asmark staff has followed this issue and been told the National Registry does not know when the site will resume business. They have advised Asmark to share that “FMCSA is currently working to develop a manual process for access to the National Registry. We suggest you hold the medical examiner certificates that need to be verified until the website is once again operational.” To check whether the website is available, please click here.

In the Federal Register FMCSA published a 90-day waiver from the ELD mandate for Livestock and all agriculture commodities (i.e. crops) as defined by DOT. This waives the ELD requirement through March 18, 2018.

The Agricultural Retailers Association has been informed that a separate ELD petition will soon be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period.

In addition to the waiver, FMCSA also published clarifying guidance to the current HOS ag exemption. FMCSA guidance would clarify two issues:

  • Drivers operating unladen/empty vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity, as defined in 49 CFR 395.2, or returning from a delivery point.
  • Drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source of the agricultural commodity.

The guidance that has been drafted for these two issues is as follows:

Question 34: Does the agricultural commodity exception (395.1(k)(1)) apply to drivers while driving unloaded to the source where an agricultural commodity will be loaded, and to the unloaded return trip after delivering an agricultural commodity under the exception?

Guidance: Yes, provided that trip does not involve transporting other cargo and the sole purpose of the trip is to complete the delivery or pick up of agricultural commodities, as defined in part 395.2. In that case, driving and on-duty time are not limited, nor do other requirements of part 395 apply.

Question 35: Does the agricultural commodity exception apply if the destination for the commodity is beyond the 150 air-mile radius from the source?

Guidance: The exception applies to transportation during the initial 150 air-miles from the source of the commodity. Once a driver operates beyond the 150 air-mile radius of the source, part 395 applies. Starting at zero from that point, the driver must then begin recording his or her duty time, and the limits under the 11-hour, 14- hour, and the 60/70- hour rule apply.

Once the hours of service rules begin to apply on a given trip, they continue to apply for the duration of the trip, until the driver crosses back into the area within 150 air-miles of the original source of the commodities and is returning to that source. If the driver is not returning to the original source, the HOS rules continue to apply, even if the driver reenters the 150-mile radius.

In addition to the guidance, FMCSA is also asking for input on what should be included as the "source" of the commodity. They are looking to include the grain elevator (which would include elevator to elevator movements) and sale barns/livestock marketing locations. Once issued, the comment period will be open for 30 days. ARA will be submitting comments and welcomes any input.

You can read more from ARA on the ELD issue and how it effects retailers here.