WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is giving carriers who haul livestock a break when it comes to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).
Regulations come into effect on Dec. 18 making the devices mandatory for carriers in the United States, however the government agency announced it will give a 90-waiver to the agricultural industry, in addition to other efforts to make the transition for fleets easier.
The 90-day waiver on the devices will allow agricultural carriers to continue to use paper logging until March 18, 2018 to allow time for the exemption request filed on behalf of the industry to be evaluated, as well as allowing for more input from that segment of the industry.
Other efforts have already been announced to help make it easier for fleets to make the move to ELDs, and a significant number of carrier may need the transition period.
Recent surveys of smaller fleets by CarrierLists has found that at least 30%, and as many as 51% of fleets may not be in compliance with the new regulations, with just a little less than a month to go.
Those carriers were polled over a 10-week period, with averages taken at three-week intervals, and although compliance rates have increased over the 10 weeks, 30% of carriers are still showing as being in violation of the new regulations.
A transition period announced by the FMCSA in August will mean drivers will not be put out-of-service until April 1, 2018 if they are found in violation of the ELD regulations. The agency is leaving it to local law enforcement officials to determine if a violation warrants a citation before the April 1 date.
Those not in compliance with the ELD mandate, will still need to be able to prove they are within their legal Hours of Service (HoS) in order to remain on the road, however.
The FMCSA has also said it will be publishing a guide to help answer carriers’ questions and provide some clarity and consistency across the industry with regard to the devices.
The guide to be published next month will provide the agency’s interpretation of HoS regulations, personal conveyance, and the ELD mandate. The guidance will allow drivers to be clear on what kinds of personal movement will not count against their HoS.
The FMCSA says it wants the smoothest transition possible when the new rules come into effect.