Looking at changes in transportation law
January 25, 2018
Lately, especially in the social medial realm, there have been quite a few three-letter acronyms being tossed around relating to livestock transportation. ELD, CMV, CDL, HOS and other confusing ciphers have promoted mass confusion.
Due to numerous questions, concerns and much discussion regarding the current Electronic Logging Device (ELD), Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and Hours of Service (HOS) situation, we would like to take the opportunity to provide some clarity and facts regarding these issues to not only the membership of the PRCA, but to the entire livestock industry.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act was enacted in 2012 as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act and mandated "a commercial motor vehicle involved in interstate commerce and operated by a driver subject to the hours of service and the record of duty status requirements … be equipped with an Electronic Logging Device to improve compliance by an operator of a vehicle with hours of service regulations."
An installation and implementation date of Dec. 18, 2017, also was established at the passage of the bill.
It is important to note that the only individuals impacted by this mandate are operators of CMVs who are required to maintain Records of Duty, commonly known as log books, to document their HOS. The ELD mandate does not change who must report hours, but rather the way hours are reported – digitally rather than hard copy. If a driver was not previously required to maintain Records of Duty or log books, the ELD mandate does not change that driver's current operations.
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The PRCA has been collaborating with the livestock and agricultural community and has requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) grant a one-year enforcement delay followed by a waiver and limited exemptions from compliance with implementation date for the Final Rule on ELDs and HOS.
The FMCSA has granted a 90-day waiver, pushing the implementation deadline to March 18. Additionally, the livestock and agriculture industries have petitioned for additional deferments, which would allow time to continue conversations with FMCSA about the long-term needs of the livestock industry and alleviate any unintended consequences that the mandate may have on the transportation of livestock.
The introduction of the ELD mandate brought to light concerns about CDL requirements from many in the livestock community.
Most concerns have stemmed from the guidance offered by the FMCSA that if a vehicle is used by a driver or business with the intent of making a profit – also called "furtherance of a commercial enterprise" – it would constitute a CMV and thus require the operator to possess a CDL and to document their HOS.
Additional guidance from the FMCSA defined the "furtherance of a commercial enterprise" as activities undertaken for profit, including prize money, that is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and the cost of said activities is deducted as a business expense for tax purposes and, where relevant, corporate sponsorship is involved.
Further, the regulations regarding the towing and weight capacity of pickup style trucks and trailers continues to be a concern. A 2018 RAM 3500 has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,100-11,400 pounds, while many standard 24-28-foot livestock-type trailers weigh 16,000 pounds or more.
This common combination has a total GVWR of more than 26,001 pounds and would require the operator to possess a CDL if operated outside of the exemptions listed by the FMCSA. The FMCSA also provides guidance that a CMV is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway for interstate commerce that has a GVWR or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. Although concerns regarding CDLs, CMVs and GVWRs are valid, they have been in place for some time and have been misrepresented as part of the ELD mandate.
CDL requirements and regulations have remained unchanged, for the most part, since implementation in 1992. Requirements for a CDL classification are not new developments along with the ELD mandate.
Each state has its own set of regulations for CDLs, in addition to requirements from the FMCSA. Enforcement of both state and federal regulations relating to CDLs is handled by state law enforcement officers and varies from state to state. Some regulations and laws might change once a vehicle crosses state lines.
The FMCSA recommends that drivers confer with their State of Licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject. We certainly echo that recommendation.
Scattered reports of increased enforcement relating to CDL and CMV requirements have been reported nationwide.
While there might be an uptick in the awareness of CDL and CMV requirements and regulations, the enforcement is neither attributed to the ELD mandate or "new" regulations or rules.
Again, the rules and regulations regarding CDLs, CMVs and HOS have been in place for many years. Up to this point, enforcement has been sporadic and actual instances of citations have been rare, but an absence of enforcement does not imply compliance.
Understanding and awareness of the stringent federal regulations surrounding commercial transportation in the rodeo industry, and in the larger livestock industry, is somewhat lacking. Both federal and state rules and regulations provide exemptions to help lift some of the burdens placed on the industry, but are not without their deficiencies.
We suggest and advise members to be well informed as to their truck and trailer and the implications of how those vehicles are registered. Additionally, we suggest that the membership reach out to the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Office within the driver's state police department to determine overall compliance with the ELD mandate as well as longstanding CDL, CMV and HOS regulations and rules.
Those interested should contact their respective representatives in Washington, D.C. When contacting your representative, please be courteous and have your information correct. A simple call stating the burdens that are placed on the livestock industry with both the ELD mandate as well as CDL, CMV, and HOS rules and regulations would go a long way. A call to your state government officials would also be beneficial.
Further questions or concerns may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act: http://bit.ly/2FR7BuP
• To contact a representative: http://bit.ly/2jE77BE
• Horses are livestock, and as such are provided the following exemptions, along with other farm livestock, in addition to state specific exemptions:
• Intrastate Commerce Exemption 29 CFR Part 782.7: http://bit.ly/2rmoWZw
• 150 Air Mile Rule Exemption 49 CFR Part 395.1: http://bit.ly/2rmzBmO
• Covered Farm Vehicle Designation 49 CFR Part 390.5: http://bit.ly/2ESi1sR