Livestock haulers get extra time to install ELDs

Complete waiver not likely, says IFB transportation expert, and haulers advised to use the extra time to research which electronic logging device is the best fit.

Livestock _haulers _extra _time _install _elds _1_636486028069924000Livestock haulers can push the pause button for a few months – and maybe longer – on a federal rule requiring them to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their truck, but Illinois Farm Bureau transportation expert says the delay likely won’t last forever.

The ELD requirement begins Dec. 18, but a waiver from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will give livestock haulers an extra 90 days to comply. A group of U.S. senators urged Congressional leadership to extend the 90-day waiver up to a year.

“It probably just pushes back the inevitable,” said IFB Senior Director of Local Government Kevin Rund said of the 90-day waiver. “I don’t foresee that the livestock industry as a whole will be granted a waiver entirely.”

Rund says the real challenge is with the rules themselves because they force a driver hauling live animals to abide by the same rules as those transporting traditional cargo.

“The livestock industry is saddled with this need to show some care for the animals,” Rund added. “And that doesn’t fit neatly into this rigidly regulated hours-of-service limitation.”

Mid-West Truckers Association Executive Vice President Don Schaefer agreed.

“The federal regulations say you’ve got to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours you’re driving … well, you can tell that to the driver, but you can’t tell that to the livestock that are in the trailer,” he said. “It’s a whole different commodity than if you’re hauling a box of widgets.”

Schaefer said a variety of exemptions will cover farmers and drivers who haul agricultural products. But don’t assume you’re off the hook.

Some of the agricultural exemptions to the ELD rule cover drivers who remain within a 150-mile radius of their base of operation, which applies to many grain haulers. Some livestock haulers, on the other hand, regularly haul animals outside that zone.

Schaefer advises farmers visit the FMCSA’s website to find out whether you need to install an ELD. Click here to visit the ELD webpage.

The 90-day waiver gives livestock haulers additional time to research which ELD might be right for them.

According to IFB Assistant Director of Transportation Kirby Wagner, FMCSA estimates ELD equipment will cost just under $500 per truck, plus additional annual fees that could reach upward of $800, depending on the equipment you select.

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