The FMCSA recently granted agriculture drivers a 90-day extension on implementing electronic logging devices (ELDs). Read more to learn about the extension, why the FMCSA is granting one specifically to agriculture drivers, and what this means for these drivers' ELD compliance.
Overdrive recently reported that the FMCSA is granting agriculture drivers a 90-day extension on implementing ELDs. This means drivers hauling agriculture products and livestock will not have to start using electronic logging devices until March of next year. During this extension period, agriculture drivers will be allowed to continue using paper logs to track their hours-of-service.
Why the Extension?
The FMCSA is extending the implementation deadline for agriculture drivers to make it easier for them to transition to electronic logging devices. In fact, FMCSA Deputy Adminstrator, Cathy F. Gautreaux has said that the “FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups, including agriculture, and will continue to take steps to ease the transition to the full implementation of the ELD rule.” The FMCSA is also trying to alleviate the mandate's impact on the agriculture industry.
In addition, Truckinginfo.com notes that Joe DeLorenzo, director of FMCSA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement, said that the 90-day extension would also give the FMCSA time to look at agriculture drivers' hours-of-service rules and to examine agriculture drivers request for an exemption.
In fact, the FMCSA has said that they will issue "guidance on the existing 150 air miles hours-of-service exemption" and "guidance specifically pertaining to the existing hours-of-service exemption for the agricultural industry," although as of today, that guidance has not yet been issued.
90-Day Extension is Not an Extension on AOBRDs
Are you an agriculture driver or do you manage a fleet of agriculture drivers? Are your drivers hoping to run under the more flexible automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) rules? Note: the 90-day extension does not apply to the AOBRD grandfather clause. This means if you manage a fleet of agriculture drivers and your fleet chooses not to implement AOBRDs until the end of the 90-day extension (which would be in March of 2018), your fleet will not be eligible for the two-year AOBRD grandfather clause. Your fleet must implement automatic onboard recording devices before the mandate deadline (December 18, 2017) to qualify. Therefore, if your fleet chooses to use the 90-day extension, know that your drivers will have to transition straight to ELDs. If they are currently using paper logs or electronic logbooks to track their hours-of-service, your drivers may find the transition to ELDs drastic.
Stay Flexible! Implement AOBRDs Before Dec. 18, 2017!
Ease your drivers into engine connected logging with AOBRDs. These devices function in a similar manner to ELDs by recording your drivers' drive times and creating their daily logs. But, AOBRDs also record and display less data, making them a great stepping stone between paper logs and electronic logging devices! Be sure to buy now to install them before the mandate deadline and qualify for the AOBRD grandfather clause.