Western Growers asks for permanent logging device exemption

Western Growers is seeking clarification on hours-of-service rules and asking for a permanent exemption from the electronic logging device mandate for haulers of agricultural products. ( File photo )

As the clock winds down on a government mandate for truckers to begin using electronic devices to log hours, Western Growers continues to seek a permanent exemption to produce and other agricultural commodities.

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for agricultural commodities, operating under a 90-day waiver, is set to expire March 18. Western Growers has submitted comments through the Federal Register asking for a “broad interstate commerce agricultural exemption.”

The deadline for comments on the mandate was Feb. 20.

Other requests from the association, according to a blog post from Ken Gilliland, director of international trade and transportation for Western Growers, include hours-of-service clarification on a 150-air-mile radius rule. Hours-of-service rules do not apply when products are being distributed within 150 miles of the pick-up.

Western Growers also is asking that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

  • Allow farms, packing facilities, cold storage and other areas near farms to be included as the “source” of fruits, vegetables and tree nuts when deciding when hours-of-service rules kick in;
  • Clarify when the 150-mile rule applies, and what commodities are covered in an exemption;
  • Exempt empty trucks returning west when they have a pick-up order, and are within 150 miles of that order, even if it’s not the same location as the original outbound order;
  • Create a geographical area permitting the 150-mile exemption to extend beyond the first pick-up;
  • Allow extra hours when an order is delayed when loading/unloading because of supply issues, inspections of product and similar issues.

In the blog post, Gilliland stresses the ELD mandate and 150-mile rule are separate issues.

“As confirmed with representatives from the FMCSA, hours-of-service and the use of ELDs do not apply when agricultural commodities are being loaded and carried within the 150-air-mile radius of the source,” Gilliland wrote. “When the carrier reaches the 150-mile limit, it then becomes subject to the hours of service; however, the carrier may record its hours of service on paper logs rather than an ELD, at least until March 18, 2018.”