Are you up to date on all the latest changes regarding the ELD mandate that would require commercial motor vehicles to carry an electronic logging device and comply with time restrictions? Here are all the developments from the past month.
Amidst other equine industry-related headlines coming out of the giant $1.3 trillion omnibus bill approved early in April — namely, continued protections for wild horses and the continued defunding of horse slaughter facility inspectors — new developments in the ongoing ELD mandate saga slipped under the radar.
In short, Congress passed a temporary enforcement exemption for the livestock industry from the ELD mandate. Enforcement has been defunded until September 30, 2018 for livestock haulers, which allows industry leaders, including equine organizations as well as wider agricultural organizations, to educate all haulers on the scope of the mandate and who specifically is affected. This exemption also provides more time for industry leaders to potentially work out more livestock-friendly rules and regulations.
This exemption came just weeks after the Department of Transportation issued a 90-day exemption of enforcement for livestock haulers, of which commercial horse haulers are considered, on March 13, 2018. Through this 90-day period, haulers were required to carry a notice of exemption. As of the exemption passed in the omnibus bill, it’s unclear whether haulers still need to carry the waiver document; it may not be a bad idea to have a copy on hand.
For readers new to this story, the “ELD mandate” refers to the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21 bill, which transitioned the commercial motor vehicle industry from paper log books to electronic logging devices (ELD). The ELD automatically records driving time and alerts a driver when he or she is over a legally-set hour limit: 11 hours on the road in a 14-hour stretch, with a mandatory 10-hour rest period. Infractions can be viewed on the ELD during a traffic stop or truck inspection and drivers can be fined.
While the intention of this law is to increase safety by limiting the hours that drivers can be behind the wheel, it also poses obvious negative implications for all livestock haulers, including equine — imagine being forced to pull over at a rest stop for a mandatory 10-hour break with your horses still in the trailer due to unforeseen delays.
The ELD mandate also created confusion with just who exactly was considered a commercial hauler. Recreational horse haulers under a certain combined weight were exempt, but the guidelines for determining commercial status based on the size of one’s rig were vague and poorly defined.
The ELD mandate does not change these classifications nor change the laws for what has been required all along, but it does make it easier for law enforcement to see if a driver is in violation.
Whether this law ultimately ends up being changed to be more friendly to livestock haulers or commercial motor vehicles do need to comply by September 30, 2018, anyone who hauls their horses should familiarize themselves with this issue:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website
- Agricultural exemptions
- General exemptions
- Defining “commercial motor vehicle”
- American Horse Council resources on ELD and CDL, including definitions