Trucking Groups Blast ELD Exception Charge for Agricultural Carriers
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and The Trucking Alliance have written senators asking them to oppose legislation introduced in May that would exempt livestock haulers from ELD requirements.
The bill, “The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (S. 2938),” was introduced on May 23 by Sen. Benjamin Sasse (R-NE). In their letter, the 2 groups said the bill will do nothing for improving roadway safety and will just open the door to livestock drivers who drive for 24 hours a day without breaks.
“We acknowledge that livestock haulers are unique, in that they are delivering live cargo; however, they are not the only carriers who haul time-sensitive commodities,” the letter, signed by Catherine Chase, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Lane Kidd, managing director of The Trucking Alliance, states.
The bill would exempt much of the time a livestock driver spends not driving from their official on-duty time. Also, it would refer to “a driver transporting livestock (as defined in section 602 of the Agricultural Act of 1949 (7 U.S.C. 1471)) or insects within a 300 air-mile radius from the point at which the on-duty time of the driver begins with respect to the trip.”
|It goes on to state that the on-duty time of a driver shall exclude all time spent:|
- at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper or on any public property during which the driver is waiting to be dispatched
- giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded
- loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle
- attending to a commercial motor vehicle while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded
- remaining in readiness to operate a commercial motor vehicle
The bill also states:
- after completion of the trip, the driver shall be required to take a rest break for a period that is 5 hours less than the maximum driving time under paragraph (2)
- the driver may take 1 or more rest periods during the trip, which shall not be included in the calculation of the driving time
- If the driver is within 150 air-miles of the point of delivery, any additional driving to that point of delivery shall not be included in the calculation of the driving time; and the 10-hour rest period under section 395.3(a)(1) of that title shall not apply
In addition to the recent clarification of the air-mile rule for agricultural and livestock haulers, the bill would exempt many drivers from using an ELD and increase their available driving hours, the 2 groups argue. The recent FMCSA report said that drivers moving within 150 air-miles of their source are exempt from using ELDs: also, that the time spent in that range does not count against hours-of-service limits.
The groups go on to point out the criterion this bill could set. “While ostensibly these increases are for agricultural haulers, the proposed changes to the hours’ limits would compel many similarly situated local and regional haulers to request comparable exemptions,” it said.
The fight to get livestock and ag hauler exempted took another turn yesterday when Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced a bill (S. 3051) that would direct the “Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group to study regulatory and legislative improvements for the livestock, insect, and agricultural commodities transport industries, and for other purposes.”
Text for that bill is not yet available, but the meaning of the bill makes it easier for these haulers to move commodities.