Senators Seek to Delay ELD Enforcement for Agricultural Transporters

 

Source: United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA)

Mar 31, 2021

 

(WASHINGTON) - On Monday, U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) reintroduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, bipartisan legislation to reform the Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Further, the bill would delay enforcement of the ELD rule until the required reforms are formally proposed by the Transportation Secretary.

 

In addition to Sens. Hoeven and Bennet, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Roger Marshall (R-Kans.).

 

United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) Transportation Committee Chairman Steve Hilker issued the following statement:

 

"USCA appreciates the leadership of Senators John Hoeven and Michael Bennet in recognizing the unique challenges associated with getting livestock to their destination as safely and efficiently as possible. As cattlemen and women, the welfare and comfort of these animals is our number one concern and their needs vary greatly from the needs of a commercial driver transporting steel or furniture.

 

"We look forward to utilizing this important bill to work alongside all stakeholders to identify workable solutions to the restrictive Hours-of-Service rules for livestock and insect haulers.”

 

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Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act: A Summary

 

Working Group: This legislation would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish a working group within 120 days of enactment charged with--

 

·         Identifying obstacles to the “safe, humane, and market-efficient transport of livestock, insects, and other perishable agricultural commodities” and

·         Developing guidelines and recommending regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities.

 

The bill designates various stakeholders that the working group would need to consult and ensures it will consider certain issues, including:

 

1.    The impact of existing HOS rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs);

2.    Incompatibilities and other challenges and concerns caused by the HOS rules and ELD rule provisions;

3.    Initiatives and regulatory changes that maintain and protect highway safety and allow for the “safe, efficient, and productive marketplace transport” of livestock, insects, and perishable agricultural commodities; and

4.    Other related issues that the Secretary considers appropriate.

 

The working group shall be composed of a cross section of the transportation and agricultural communities, at the Secretary’s discretion, but include, the Department of Agriculture, individuals with knowledge and expertise that includes highway safety, the commercial motor vehicle and transportation industries, animal husbandry, and the transportation of livestock, insects, and agricultural commodities.

 

Within one year after it is established, the working group is to submit a report to the Secretary that includes its findings as well as initiatives and regulatory and legislative changes that the working group identifies as necessary to protect highway safety and allow for the safe, efficient, and productive marketplace transport of the named commodities.

 

Required Regulatory Rulemaking: Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the Secretary is to propose regulatory changes, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group. These regulatory changes shall include:

 

·         Changes to the HOS regulations, and

·         Changes to the ELD regulations.

 

Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Delay: The bill would suspend the provisions of 49 U.S.C. § 31137(a) – (f) as it would apply to commercial motor vehicles (CMV) hauling livestock, insects, or perishable agricultural commodities until the date on which the Secretary proposes regulatory changes.

 

Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act of 2021:

https://www.hoeven.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Modernizing%20Agricultural%20Transportation%20Act%20One-Pager%202021.pdf

 

 

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