Fleet Management

FMCSA to Issue 90-Day ELD Waiver to Ag Haulers

November 20, 2017

By David Cullen

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Nov. 20 that it will be issuing to haulers of agricultural commodities a 90-day temporary waiver of the new electronic logging device mandate — which takes effect just four weeks from now — so that the agency can better address their concerns about operating under the new rules.

In addition, FMCSA said it will be issuing “formal guidance” on the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agricultural industry and on the “personal conveyance” provision for all truckers (which, simply put, refers to when movement of a truck by a driver is not subject to hours-of-service regs), as well as on how enforcement procedures should be carried out once the rule legally kicks in on Dec. 18.

The agency also said it will provide guidance on the existing 150 air miles hours-of-service exemption “to provide clarity to enforcement and industry. The guidance is designed to allow industry to maximize the use of this statutory exemption.” 

FMCSA noted that formal publication of the guidance in the Federal Register is to be “expected within the next two weeks” and will include a public comment process. The agency added that it will consider comments received from stakeholders before publishing final guidance.

During a telephone briefing with reporters on Nov. 20, agency officials emphasized that FMCSA and its enforcement partners within the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance are “fully prepared” for the ELD rule’s Dec. 18 implementation date. In their view, the upcoming guidance “represents the agency’s desire to implement the ELD rule in a manner that improves safety without impeding commerce.”

In August, FMCSA and CVSA announced a phased-in approach to the ELD mandate that would delay implementing out-of-service criteria related to ELDs until April 1 and that indicated each jurisdiction would have discretion on whether or not to issue citations from the get go of the new rule.

Then on Nov. 15, the agency clarified its intention by announcing during its Southern Regional Road Show event in Birmingham, Alabama, that from Dec. 18 through April 1, citations issued to truck drivers at roadside for not complying with the ELD rule will not count against the Safety Measurement System that drives FMCSA’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) scoring.

Expanding on that announcement during the Nov. 20 media call, Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, said that if, from Dec. 18 to April 1, a driver pulled over for not running with an electronic log is otherwise HOS-compliant, he or she will be cited for that ELD violation but “allowed to continue that particular trip” rather than be placed out of service. In addition, he confirmed that such a citation would not ding the driver’s or the carrier’s SMS “or the carrier’s safety record.”

As for the confusion around when designating a vehicle movement as an instance of “personal conveyance” is legal, DeLorenzo pointed out that this is really ‘an HOS question that’s been raised by the ELD rule.”

DeLorenzo also advised that the agency has gotten an earful from ag haulers — from livestock haulers in particular — “on how the ELD rule will affect how they manage their HOS compliance.”

He said that issuing these truckers a blanket 90-day ELD waiver will enable the agency “to consider their situation on HOS and their exemption request already on file. We’ll continue this conversation” with this segment of trucking.

Editor's note: Click here for ongoing coverage of the ELD mandate by the editors of HDT.


  1. 1. Justin Thomas [ November 21, 2017 @ 04:39AM ]

    With so many exemptions and exceptions, why bother to enforce the rule at all?

  2. 2. jim [ November 21, 2017 @ 05:25AM ]

    I want to be exempt also, what does livestock have to do with hours of service and ELD's. It a matter of changing the hours of service regs. Get rid of the 14 hr rule and shorten sleeper birth back up.

  3. 3. Brad [ November 21, 2017 @ 05:49AM ]

    So it is ok for livestock haulers to falsify their log but the rest of us can’t! Sounds typical of the fmcsa!

  4. 4. Dave Keiser [ November 21, 2017 @ 10:26AM ]

    AG exemption? That refer to produce haulers or just livestock and farmers? A little sway in implementation would be greatly appreciated. ESPECIALLY in the transportation of perishables. Produce has always been time critical now tryna do it on a rigid clock is gonna put alot of hard core haulers out of work and raise the price of shipping and BUYING fresh produce SUBSTANTIALLY. A 24 hour delay doesn't sound big but ask ANY berry hauler what a full day with product on board means and how much of a risk that is. To the truck, to the company, to the farm, to the insurance company etc. And the only way to offset the expanded risk is more out of pocket cash. Multiple trucks to do 1 load? Team drivers where 1 should be enough? And as the original driver is going to be actually making LESS no matter how much MORE the farm the shipper or receiver is spending to get it done, where is the incentive to hustle? And that's just 1 example of how eld is gonna affect the industry. Safer? Maybe. Much less lucrative? ABSOLUTELY. The days of sitting on a farm in Florida all day while they pick and chill a load of early strawberries then getting loaded around 8 pm and being told to be in Boston market by noon tomorrow for 5k are clearly over, again, where's the incentive to hustle? Less money more bullshit and another rule and loss of another freedom in the road. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING. Believe me, in cab cameras WATCHING you drive sleep and pick your nose is next.

  5. 5. Tj [ November 21, 2017 @ 01:05PM ]

    Live haul is already exempt from the 30 minute break, if it takes more than 11 hrs driving to deliver livestock to it's destination isn't that teetering on animal abuse Per animal activists.....

  6. 6. J.J. [ November 22, 2017 @ 07:53PM ]

    I Pull a hopper bottom. I go to a lot of places that farmers haul to...which they are all exempt from having a log book. I have an ELD now and it really sucks to sit in line for 3 to 4 hours with a bunch of people that are going home at the end of the day. I have to stay in the truck because now I am out of hours.... and....make less money because I am paid on percentage. this is killing us private ag haulers too.

  7. 7. Todd [ November 23, 2017 @ 04:19AM ]

    I bought and paid for three of these fricken things, because we where told we had to have them. now your going to let every one go until april 1 without no, with out consequences. kiss my ass, fmcsa doesnt, never has will not ever know what the hell its doing. but they better learn the meaning of class action law suite.

  8. 8. Edward [ November 29, 2017 @ 02:22PM ]

    What about live plant haulers? Multiple drops daily and plants can’t stay on truck over 2 days as a rule. Really ELD is not the problem, 14 hour rule is the issue. Who would want to drive thru rush hour traffic when you could stop and wait for it to pass. Let the drivers manage their day!!

  9. 9. Kathy [ November 30, 2017 @ 09:01AM ]

    What about all the pre 2000 trucks out there? They are just going to park them? What about all the retailers that supply parts for all these old trucks? What's going to happen to their inventory? Making us change our mechanical engines to electronic isn't right or justified. Insurance company states that if we are not in compliance with the upgrade to an electronic engine in 2 years we will no longer be able to find insurance if not before the 2 year.

  10. 10. Wendy [ November 30, 2017 @ 11:26PM ]

    Anything outside of 150 mile radius is bullshit animal cruelty anyway. Living, breathing and most importantly feeling creatures shouldn't be stuffed into hot trailers or exposed to freezing temps so people can have cheap meat. This goes way beyond trucking regs.

  11. 11. Mary Polzin [ December 27, 2017 @ 01:46PM ]

    so do grain haulers fall under the 90 day waiver?


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