Livestock haulers, intermodal fleet petition FMCSA for ELD mandate reprieve

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Updated Nov 5, 2017

A group representing livestock haulers and one of the nation’s largest intermodal fleets have added themselves to the list of groups and companies looking for a break from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device mandate.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has requested an exemption from the mandate on behalf of several livestock-hauling groups due to what it calls “an incompatibility” between federal hours rules and how the livestock industry operates. Hub Group Trucking (No. 30 on the CCJ Top 250) is also requesting an exemption from a portion of the ELD mandate regarding the grandfather period of AOBRDs.

NPPC’s request states livestock haulers are not and will not be prepared to meet the Dec. 18 compliance date because, in part, the current ELD marketplace doesn’t meet the needs of livestock haulers. The group adds that it’s unclear as to whether current ELDs can accommodate hours-of-service exemptions utilized by the livestock industry.

The group says in its request ELD vendors “lack an understanding of the unique needs of the livestock industry and essential design features for their products,” and adds that most of the drivers who haul livestock are above the trucking industry average of 49 years old and are “less familiar with the use of new technology and require more time to train on ELD use.”

NPPC says the exemption would maintain or exceed current safety because most livestock haulers have participated in specialized training, which address driver safety and provide instruction on how to handle and transport animals.

The group’s exemption request was made on behalf of itself and the American Beekeeping Foundation, American Farm Bureau Federation, Livestock Marketing Association, National Aquaculture Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, North American Meat Institute and the U.S. Cattleman’s Association.

FMCSA is seeking public comment on the exemption request and can be made at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0297 for 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

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Hub Group Trucking’s request asks FMCSA to allow it to install an AOBRD in any new truck added to its fleet after the ELD compliance date until a full fleet transition to ELDs can be completed. The company says it plans to add at least 160 new trucks and drivers to its fleet in 2018, and the exemption, if granted, would cover these trucks and drivers. HGT says its entire fleet has been using AOBRDs since 2010.

The ELD mandate states fleets using AOBRDs have until Dec. 16, 2019, as long as they were already installed in trucks before the Dec. 18, 2017, compliance date. FMCSA, in a FAQ section on its website, says fleets that purchase new trucks after the Dec. 18, 2017, deadline can install an AOBRD in the new truck only if that truck replaces an old truck. New AOBRDs cannot be installed in new trucks that don’t replace old tractors.

FMCSA is seeking public comment on the exemption request, which can be made at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0277 for 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

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