One of the many impacts of the current government shutdown is that the ELD exemption for livestock haulers will remain in effect until further notice. Transporters of livestock and insects will not fall under enforcement parameters of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule. There is a resolution to extend the exemption until September 30 in the 2019 budget, which remains in limbo during the shutdown.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has indicated that “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.”
The ELD rule replaces the historical practice of documenting Hours of Service with paper ledgers and has been a significant issue for the trucking industry since it was first enacted on December 18, 2017. The omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed in March of 2018 provided a waiver for livestock haulers after the industry expressed significant concern regarding the nature of their cargo being unlike other goods and commodities.
There has been some misunderstanding on when the ELD exemption period would expire after several short-term extensions were made. “There’s been some confusion in Iowa, Colorado and California…that we lost our exemption. Not true,” Chair of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Transportation Committee Steve Hilker indicated in a Facebook Live video.
Hilker also noted there has been some progress with bills like the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (TLAAS) that should help to clarify ELD exemptions and what livestock haulers can expect and prepare for. “The TLASS bill has the 300 air-mile exemption on the front end, a 150 air-mile exemption on the back,” said Hilker. “There are a few other bills coming down the pike that are similar. There will be changes in Hours of Service, not sure what that’s going to look like, but it will be better than where we are.”