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December 27, 2017 12:45 PM, EST

Ag Retailers Apply for Waiver From ELD Mandate

Truck hauls livestock TT File Photo

The Agricultural Retailers Association has requested an exemption from the electronic logging device rule that took effect Dec. 18, according to a notice published Dec. 27 in the Federal Register by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The ELD rule mandates that commercial drivers who are required to record their hours of service do so with the devices. According to FMCSA’s notice, the association claims that ELD requirements place undue economic burdens on its members, many of whom are retailers and distributors of farm-related products and services.

ARA “asserts that ELDs fail to properly record the complex HOS data, are not properly certified by the FMCSA and do not provide appropriate cybersecurity safeguards,” the agency’s notice states. “ARA also asserts that ELDs will not function properly in many locations in rural America because of poor internet and cellular connectivity.”

YOUR GUIDE TO THE MANDATE: Downloadable PDF. 

Although the ELD mandate went into effect Dec. 18, commercial vehicle inspectors have said they will issue citations for violations but will not place carriers without ELDs out of service until April 1.

According to the notice, ARA states that its members are not ready to comply with ELD requirements. The association seeks a postponement of the deadline, during which time FMCSA can “correct what ARA perceives to be shortcomings of the ELD rule.”

ARA claims that device vendors do not offer products that suit the needs of its members and that the systems do not accommodate the various exceptions from HOS rules that apply to agricultural drivers. One such exception states that HOS regulations do not apply to drivers moving agricultural commodities who operate completely within a 150 air-mile radius.

ARA is not the first group who has petitioned for an exemption from the ELD rule. On Dec. 20, FMCSA published a 90-day waiver to the National Pork Producers Council from installing ELDs. The agency issued a similar waiver to the Truck Renting and Leasing Association Dec. 12.

Concerned citizens have until Jan. 26 to submit a comment to FMCSA on the association’s exemption application.

“ARA states that its application will achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent the proposed exemption,” the notice in the Federal Register states.