The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed also provided a livestock waiver for the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The bill was passed on March 23 and prohibits funding to enact the regulation that requires livestock haulers to comply with the ELD mandate.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provided another 90-day extension for agricultural transportation earlier in March. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has voiced his support of finding a more appropriate program that can accommodate the specific challenges facing the agricultural industry as it relates to the implementation of the ELD mandate. The spending bill delays implantation for livestock haulers until September 30, 2018.
The ELD mandate originally went into effect December 18, 2017, requiring the use of electronic logging devices to track the driving and non-driving times of truck drivers. Multiple cattle industry groups such as the United States Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association were in support of the spending bill due to the livestock waiver as well as other language in the bill.
As with the other delays to the ELD mandate, the additional time before implementation begins will provide livestock haulers a better opportunity to come into compliance with the regulation. The latest extension will also give FMCSA a chance to reevaluate portions of the rule which have the potential of significantly disrupting the manner in which livestock are hauled cross-country.
Truck drivers have made the claim that the ELD mandate does not allow enough flexibility in the industry. Truckers are limited to 11 hours of driving in a 24-hour period and can only be on-duty for a total of 14 consecutive hours which includes drive time. After the driving limit has been reached, truckers must rest for 10 hours.
Another concern for the agriculture industry that the spending bill did not address was clarification on a California law that requires an employer to provide a 30-minute meal break for employees working more than five hours per day.