The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on March 13 that it is granting an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the electronic logging device rule for “agriculture-related transportation.”
The agency also said that during that time period, it will publish “final guidance” on both the agricultural air-mile exemption within the hours-of-service rule and on the use of the personal conveyance adjustment by all motor carriers operating under the ELD rule.
“We continue to see strong compliance rates across the country that improve weekly, but we are mindful of the unique work our agriculture community does and will use the following 90 days to ensure we publish more helpful guidance that all operators will benefit from,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said in a statement.
According to FMCSA, since December 2017, roadside compliance with the hours of service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been “steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96% in the most recent available data." On top of that, the agency noted, there are more than 330 separate self-certified electronic log devices listed on the FMCSA's registration list.
Full electronic log enforcement rapidly approaching
The agency reiterated that full enforcement of the ELD rule will begin on April 1, 2018.
As of that date, carriers found to not have an ELD when required will be placed out of service. The driver will remain out-of-service for 10 hours in accordance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance criteria. FMCSA noted that at that point, “to facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop and should not be dispatched again without an ELD. If the driver is dispatched again without an ELD, the motor carrier will be subject to further enforcement action.”
The agency added that it is “committed to continuing the ongoing dialogue on these issues" with the various segments of the trucking industry.”
The waiver and upcoming set of guidances have been announced, but they will not be published in the Federal Register right away.
An FMCSA official noted in a March 13 conference call with reporters that the new waiver for ag haulers will be published before the current one expires on March 18.
As for the guidance on ag haulers’ use of air miles and that of personal conveyance by all carriers, a notice on that won’t be published for 60 to 90 days from now, as the agency must sift through all the comments it has received.
Responding to a question from HDT during the call, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA's director compliance and enforcement, said the need to release specific guidance on using the personal conveyance mode was due more than anything to general misunderstanding of how it works. Although personal conveyance is not a new rule, it was not formerly officially tracked – until the ELD rule.
"Prior to this rule, [personal conveyance mode] did not exist, so adding it in has raised questions [regarding all types of carriers] that need to be clarified, both for the carriers and especially for law enforcement,” said DeLorenzo.
For more information on the ELD rule posted by the agency, click here.