Getting You Up to Speed on Electronic Logging Devices

Getting You Up to Speed on Electronic Logging Devices
Livestock hauler

As of last December, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted transporters of agriculture commodities an additional 90-day wavier from the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations recorded by electric logging devices (ELDs). Agriculture commodities are defined as any agricultural commodity, non-processed food, feed, fiber, or livestock. This waiver is granted in response to requests from numerous organizations representing transporters of livestock and agricultural commodities.

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Agricultural transporters have a good safety record, according to FMCSA. (Photo by Sean JOHNSTON from Pexels)

The official effective date of the waiver is from December 18, 2017 through March 18, 2018. This additional 90-day period will give the FMCSA ample time to consider exemption applications from segments of the agricultural industry concerning ELDs and HOS, which raise concern of animal welfare and food safety.

Drivers operating under this waiver MUST carry a copy of this Federal Register notice and present it to motor carrier safety enforcement officials upon request. If a farmer or rancher can claim they have “farm vehicle status,” the vehicle should be exempt from the ELD mandate altogether. However, if the status cannot be claimed, the vehicles are still covered under the 90-day waiver through March 18, 2018 .

According to FMCSA studies, agricultural transporters have a good safety record, and this waiver would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would have been achieved absent such an exemption.

ELD and Hours of Service requirements only apply to commercial ventures.

Below is guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier’s website. 

Question 21: Does the exemption in §390.3(f)(3) for the "occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise" apply to persons who occasionally use CMVs to transport cars, boats, horses, etc., to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?

Guidance: The exemption would apply to this kind of transportation, provided: (1) The underlying activities are not undertaken for profit, i.e., (a) prize money is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and (b) the cost of the underlying activities is not deducted as a business expense for tax purposes; and, where relevant; (2) corporate sponsorship is not involved. Drivers must confer with their State of licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject.

(https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/390.3)

Editor's Note: As a result of this anticipated requirement, farmers and ranchers are already seeing increased costs in transportation.

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