Electronic Logging Devices
What's the Background?
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, mandated that all commercial motor vehicles replace their paper logs with ELDs by Dec. 18, 2017. ELDs – which cost between $200 and $1,000 plus a $30 to $50 monthly service fee – record driving time and monitor engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information and report the data electronically to federal and state inspectors. Under current DOT Hours of Service (HOS) rules, a commercial vehicle operator may only drive for 11 hours and can only be on duty for 14 consecutive hours in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach this limit, they are required to immediately pull over and wait 10 hours before they can continue driving. For livestock haulers, DOT provides an exemption from the HOS rules for transit within a 150 air-mile radius of the farm where the animals were loaded. Some states recognize this exemption all year long; others recognize it for only a few months out of the year even though livestock are in transit and harvested year-round.
What Does it Matter to our Producers?
Livestock haulers are responsible for the daily transportation of millions of animals. The welfare and safety of these animals, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are the industry’s top priorities. Because livestock, such as pigs, are vulnerable to health issues triggered by temperature changes, long-established industry standards prohibit drivers from stopping while hauling animals. While DOT has provided some flexibility, the ability of livestock haulers to address this animal welfare concern varies from state to state. Additionally, ELDs are not currently compatible with the unique requirements of livestock haulers. As a result, for many routes, drivers will be forced to choose between arbitrary time limits and the welfare of the animals in their care.
What is NPPC's Position?
NPPC is seeking a limited exemption for livestock haulers from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Dec. 18, 2017, Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate for all commercial truckers. NPPC secured a 90-day waiver – until mid-March – of the ELD mandate. During the wavier period, DOT is expected to consider the request for an exemption, which would provide increased flexibility within the rules to address highway safety and the specific animal welfare requirements of livestock haulers.