What happens when transportation waivers expire?

By Kirby Wagner

As many states open according to COVID-19 recovery plans, transportation waivers will begin to shrink and/or expire.

The overweight waiver allowed by the Illinois Department of Transportation has been extended to June 28. The exemption from hours of service (HOS) limits from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expires June 14 with no word of an extension.

If these waivers expire, the regulations must be followed as they were pre-COVID-19. Although regulations may be returning to normal, farmers still may find themselves in situations where they are exempt. There are several exemptions that farmers can qualify for and use to avoid reporting HOS.

The first exemption is called the Covered Farm Vehicle (CFV) exemption. Essentially a farmer or employee of a farmer, driving a truck with farm plates and hauling for the farm can be exempt from several regulations, including HOS. This exemption allows travel throughout the state. However, if crossing state lines, a 150-mile restriction from the farm exists.

Another exemption is available to all of agriculture. If hauling ag inputs or products within 150 miles of the base of operation, recording of HOS is not required. This exemption can be used by farmers, for-hire companies, retailers and anyone else hauling ag products.

When waivers expire, it is important to remember the exemptions and how to use them. It is up to the driver to know the rules and operate legally. Agriculture enjoys many exemptions from the regulations, and these are just a small part.

For a closer look at exemptions, check out the Rules for the Road booklet on the Illinois Farm Bureau website.