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FMCSA to issue guidance on ELD rule; agriculture industry receives 90-day extension

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Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will issue guidance intended to “ease the transition” to full implementation of its rule – set to go into effect Dec. 18 – on electronic logging devices in commercial motor vehicles, the agency announced Nov. 20.

The guidance, slated for publication in the Federal Register, is aimed at both enforcement personnel and industry and will include a temporary 90-day waiver for transporters of “agricultural commodities,” FMCSA states. It also will address the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agriculture industry, the “personal conveyance” provision and the existing HOS exemption to carriers that operate within a 150-mile radius of their headquarters.

“FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups,” Deputy Administrator Cathy Gautreaux said in a press release.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a noted opponent of ELD, sent a request to FMCSA on Nov. 21 asking for a minimum five-year exemption for motor carriers that are classified as small businesses by the Small Business Administration. Those carriers also would need to have a history of “no attributable at-fault crashes” and could not have an “unsatisfactory” Carrier Safety Rating.

“Small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said in a press release.

The ELD mandate, which has the support of the American Trucking Associations, so far has survived legal and legislative challenges.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced an amendment, which was defeated Sept. 6, to prevent funding the regulation to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act of 2018. His ELD Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3282) remained in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at press time.

On Nov. 9, Babin wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to sign an Executive Order to delay the mandate.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit denied an attempt to block the regulation on Oct. 31, 2016, and the Supreme Court in June declined to hear an appeal.

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