Livestock trucks headed south will be exempt from new electronic logging rules in the U.S. for another 90-days, as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) wrestles with how to apply the new legislation to perishable commodities, which include hogs and cattle coming from Canada.
The U.S. DOT initially granted a 90-day waiver for agriculture when the electronic logbook rules originally took effect in December. The exemption was set to expire on March 18th.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue welcomed the extension by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday.
“The ELD mandate imposes restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities. If the agriculture industry had been forced to comply by the March 18 deadline, live agricultural commodities, including plants and animals, would have been at risk of perishing before they reached their destination,” said Perdue. “The 90-day extension is critical to give DOT additional time to issue guidance on hours-of-service and other ELD exemptions that are troubling for agriculture haulers.”
Agriculture truckers operating within 150 miles (as the crow flies) of their origin do not have to comply with the DOT’s hours-of-service regulation, which limits drivers to only 11 hours on the road after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
“This is obviously good news for America’s cattle haulers and producers, and it will provide FMCSA (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) more time to educate our livestock haulers on the ELDs while industry works on solutions to the current hours of service rules that simply do not work for those hauling live animals,” noted National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Kevin Kester.