The FMCSA has announced that it will once again extend the electronic logging device (ELD) waiver for truck drivers who haul livestock and agricultural products. The waiver extension for agricultural haulers will be published in the Federal Register on March 27 and is applicable from March 18 through June 18, 2018. This is the second time that the FMCSA has issued a waiver that pushes back ELD mandate compliance date for agricultural haulers. Per this exemption, “Motor carriers transporting agricultural commodities under the provisions of 49 CFR 395.1(k)(1), are exempt from the ELD requirements in 49 CFR 395.8(a) during the period of this waiver, regardless of the distance traveled.” However, the waiver only applies to carriers with a “satisfactory” safety rating (unrated drivers may also covered by the waiver).
The FMCSA says that drivers operating under the waiver must carry a copy of the Federal Register notice and present it to motor carrier safety enforcement officials upon request. You can click here to access the Federal Register Notice. After the ELD Mandate went into effect on December 18, 2017, the FMCSA issued the first 90 day waiver for truck drivers hauling agricultural commodities following applications for exemption from various groups representing the interests of ag haulers. The FMCSA’s decision to issue the waiver was also influenced by a flood of public comments on hours of service and the ELD mandate as it pertains to drivers hauling agricultural products. The FMCSA argues that they do not believe that the 90 day ELD exemption will have a serious impact on highway safety: “Considering the limited period of this waiver and that it does not alter any of the HOS regulations other than the method of recording HOS, and the Agency’s previous review of data concerning the safety performance of motor carriers engaged in the transportation of agricultural commodities, the Agency has determined that the waiver from the ELD requirements for 90 days is likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the current regulation.”
For all truck drivers who are not covered by the waiver or for another reason exempt from the ELD Mandate, full enforcement of the regulation begins on April 1.