Nebraska Cattlemen is pleased to announce that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate exemption for ag haulers by an additional 90 days. This delays the compliance date until June 18, 2018 for drivers hauling agricultural products, including livestock.
The impending ELD mandate and underlying hours of service have caused a great deal of consternation among Nebraska's cattle industry. On February 13, 2018, Nebraska Cattlemen met with FMCSA in Senator Deb Fischer's D.C. office to discuss the need for increased flexibility to account for the uniqueness of livestock hauling.
"Nebraska Cattlemen applauds the Agency for making the right determination that the ELD mandate is not ready for primetime with respect to livestock haulers. In addition to compliance issues and lack of Agency outreach, we remain deeply concerned that the underlying hours of service limitations pose serious consequences on the health and welfare of live animals," said Galen Frenzen, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.
Nebraska plays an integral role in the beef production chain, which includes diversified farms and ranches that span the entire United States. Beef cattle are born and raised in every state in the country; however, the vast majority of feed yards and processing facilities are located in the Midwest and Great Plains. As a result, almost all beef cattle are shipped much farther than 150 miles from the farm or ranch where they originated.
The nationally recognized and scientifically proven Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program outlines numerous safety protocols for transporting livestock, including the recommendation to avoid stopping the vehicle. This can be dangerous for livestock, especially during the summer months when high temperatures and humidity can be stressful on cattle. BQA makes a similar recommendation regarding cold and windy conditions.
The U.S. livestock industry also has an excellent record of public safety. Major studies reviewed by the U.S. Department of Transportation illustrate that livestock hauling-related injuries and fatalities are exceptionally rare:
- Of 1,123 accidents involving trucks hauling cargo, a mere 5 involved the transportation of livestock - Large Truck Crash Causation Study, FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute
- 20 out of 4,352 - 2008 Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (TIFA study)
- FMCSA relied on the TIFA study in its decision to exempt livestock haulers from the 30-minute break rule under HOS, citing the low number of fatal crashes for an industry that includes 66,316 active livestock carriers.
Hauling livestock is very different than hauling any other commodity. Nebraska Cattlemen will continue to work with FMCSA and Congress to develop livestock specific solutions to the underlying hours of service concerns while still maintaining safety of our roads.
Reminder: livestock haulers operating under this exemption will need to keep a copy of the federal register notice in their trucks at all times. Please use this form for now. We will update our members when the federal register notice accounting for the new delay is issued.
Nebraska Cattlemen will also be hosting an exclusive webinar on ELD compliance for members on March 20, 2018. Please click here for more details on how to register.
Information provided by Nebraska Cattlemen.