By Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting & ELD Consultant to PeopleNet
On March 13, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced its intent to extend, for another 90 days, the current 90-day waiver from the use of ELDs for agricultural commodity truckers. FMCSA issued the first 90-day Ag ELD waiver late last year, and made that waiver effective from December 18, 2017 through March 18, 2018. With the expiration date of that waiver approaching, and two related initiatives not yet completed (more on this below), FMCSA decided to extend the Ag commodity waiver until June 18, 2018. It’s important to highlight that carriers transporting agricultural commodities (as defined by FMCSA) are exempt from ELDs during the waiver period regardless of the distance traveled.
To operate under the waiver, agricultural commodity carriers must meet a few “terms and conditions” imposed by FMCSA. These carriers must:
Also, in its March 13 announcement, FMCSA said that the new 90-day waiver period extending through mid-June will allow the Agency to publish “additional transition guidance” to assist in the “…effective implementation” of the Congressionally-mandated ELD rule.
So what does this mean? Well, the Agency committed to publishing “final guidance” on two, separate HOS topics: (1) the “agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption,” and, (2) what constitutes “personal conveyance,” and how that operating status may be used by drivers with ELDs.
While both of these topics are important, new FMCSA guidance explaining how the agricultural 150 air-mile HOS exemption can be properly applied by agricultural haulers, and how it should be enforced by State and local inspectors, is critically important to the Ag sector of trucking. If written effectively, this new FMCSA guidance will answer many lingering questions about the Ag 150 air-mile HOS exemption like, ‘what exactly is an agricultural commodity?’, ‘what is a source of the commodity?’, and ‘does the exemption apply if a carrier has multiple drop points of a single commodity?’
Stay tuned to the PeopleNet ELD resource page for an explanation of this new guidance when issued by FMCSA.