Time is ticking away for drivers of commercial trucks to make the switch from their paper logbooks to digital logbooks. That is unless you can claim a farm-vehicle exemption.
Some truck drivers have been caught off guard by the mandate. They may be unsure how the change will affect them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says, “the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier, faster to accurately track, manage, and share Records Of Duty Status (RODS) data.”
Carries and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to the electronic log system no later than December 18, 2017. Carriers and driver who use Automatic On-board Recording Device (AOBRDS) prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.
So, whom does this law truly affect and how can you claim a farm-vehicle exemption. The ELD rule applies to most motor carries and drivers who are currently required to maintain Records Of Duty Status (RODS). This includes commercial buses as well as trucks. According to FMCSA, the ELD rule allows limited exceptions to the ELD mandate. The exceptions include:
- Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards: they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
- Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
- Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.
For agricultural producers who are operating their own trucks there may be a way to avoid the e-log mandate. This would involve claiming Covered Farm Vehicle (CFV) status. To claim CFV status the vehicle must be 26,001 lbs. (and under) nationwide. Exempted Farm /vehicles which are over 26,001 lbs. are exempt within their state and up to 150-air-miles from their farm if they cross state lines.
Receiving CFV status establishes the exempt from the e-log mandate, because CFV drivers are exempt from provisions of hours of service and record keeping.
Livestock producers are dealing with a major problem with this new mandate. If a driver cannot complete a run within the 14-hr work window a significant animal welfare issues arise. Drivers will be required to stop on the side of the road to rest, or require an additional driver to comply with the e-log mandates.
“Things are still fluid, but we are aware and working on a solution,” said Andrew Walmsley, The American Farm Bureau Federation Directory of Congressional Relations. “I’m not sure if we can get the rule repealed or let it cover all of agriculture, but we are trying to find relief for those with livestock or perishable commodities.”
American Farm Bureau Federation is exploring pathways for relief, but said, “there is not a clear-cut path yet.” They also encouraged members who will be directly impacted by this mandate to reach out to members of Congress.
To find out more information about this mandate visit the FMCSA website at, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/faqs. The FMCSA frequently updates the website with questions regarding the e-log mandate.
For those who are impacted by the e-log mandates, reach out to Nevada’s congressional members by visiting the Nevada Farm Bureau website at, http://nvfb.org/action-center/. This is an easy way for you to write to members of congress with concerns you have regarding the e-log mandate.