Can't Make Heads or Tails of ELDs, Hours of Service? No One Can... Allison Rivera Sets Us Straight
Oklahoma Farm Report
08 Feb 2019
At the recent 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Allison Rivera talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about several issues the industry is tackling right now, including the US Department of Transportation’s ELD Mandate and Hours of Service Rule. Together, these regulations require commercial freight truckers to install onboard electronic logging devices (ELDs) to digitally record their active drive times, and limits the amount of time a driver can spend on the road. Rivera says that with the turmoil in Washington, DC currently, the waters on this rule have been a little murky as NCBA continues to work with the DOT to delay and exempt livestock haulers from the rule.
“I think there was a lot of confusion out there when Congress was trying to avoid a shutdown and was passing stopgap continuing resolutions from one week to the next,” Rivera said explaining how this eventually led to some to believe livestock haulers were totally exempt from the ELD mandate - though Rivera says it is only being delayed for now until Congress can pass final legislation which will likely still require the installation of ELDs. “I know a lot of our producers do not like the ELDs. I’m not in love with them either, but the bigger issue here is not the ELDs themselves - it’s Hours of Service.”
Currently, drivers have 11 hours of maximum drive time after 10 consecutive hours off duty. For livestock haulers, this is more often than not an inadequate amount of time to safely and humanely transport livestock from one location to their final destination. While exemption from this rule would be ideal, it is not likely the DOT will consent to that. Alternatively, Rivera says the NCBA is working instead to at least extend the Hours of Service rule for livestock haulers. During the Convention, Rivera says NCBA formally submitted a petition demanding livestock haulers be granted 16 hours of on-duty time with 15 hours of drive time after 10 hours of off-duty time. This schedule, she says is based off the Australian model which has had a long record of success.
“It’s an animal welfare issue. Hauling a load of toilet paper is very different from hauling a load of cattle. This is the US government taking a wide brush and painting across the entire trucking industry,” she said...
more, including links, audio [5:28 min.]