New bill to delay ELD enforcement, reform HOS and ELD regulations

Yesterday two lawmakers introduced new legislation that would put the brakes on Electronic Logging Device (ELD) enforcement while reforms are made to both Hours of Service (HOS) regulations and ELD regulations, particularly for agricultural haulers.

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced on June 12 by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to reform HOS and ELD regulations, according to a news release from the office of Senator Hoeven. The bill would also prevent the enforcement of ELD regulations until “until the reforms required under the bill are formally proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.”

The release details how the bill would require the DOT to reexamine and change current regulations:

“Specifically, the Hoeven-Bennet bill would establish a working group at DOT to identify obstacles to the safe, humane and market-efficient transport of livestock and, within one year of the group’s establishment, develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities. The working group will be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is required to consider:

  • The impact, incompatibilities and other challenges and concerns of existing HOS rules and ELD rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the commercial transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.
  • Initiatives and regulatory changes that maintain and protect highway safety and allow for the safe, efficient and productive marketplace transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.
  • Other related issues that the Transportation Secretary considers appropriate.

Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the Transportation Secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.”

Several Bills Already In The Pipeline To Reform ELD And HOS Regulations

Lawmakers have recently introduced several other bills intended to give drivers relief from ELD regulations. In late May, the Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 was introduced by Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte and Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). This bill would “completely exempt businesses which operate ten or fewer trucks from the requirements of the ELD mandate.” Gianforte and Peterson introduced a second bill at the same time called the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 that would give drivers who haul agricultural products complete exemption from ELD regulations.

Also in late May, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduce the Transporting Livestock Across America Safety Act, which would ease ELD requirements for livestock and insect haulers.

And in April, Tennessee passed a law forbidding the use of state funds for the use of ELD enforcement against certain agricultural haulers.

Numerous trade groups have endorsed the “Hoeven-Bennet bill”, including, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) and the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union (RMFU).

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