DOT Enforcement Chief Wants to Work with Livestock Industry on ELD

An enforcement chief for the Department of Transportation said commenting and petitioning the hours of service that are backed by the electronic logging device (ELD) rule are necessary for any changes to the mandate. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Electronic logging devices (ELD) have yet to be fully implemented by livestock haulers, but their time could be coming soon. Most commercial truckers have been using ELDs for nearly two months as part of the MAP-21 mandate enforced by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

During the Live Cattle Marketing Committee held by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, an update was given on the ELD in Phoenix on Feb. 2. An ELD monitors drive time for truckers and eliminates the need for log books. The industry has many questions about ELDs and how it impact hours of service, says Bill Mahorney, enforcement division chief for FMCSA.

The rules went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, for most commercial truckers. A 90-day delay was imposed by FMCSA on the same date for livestock transporters to participate in a comment period for the agency to better evaluate issues with the mandate. Livestock haulers will need ELDs starting March 18 if they plan to do long hauls and the comment period has been extended to Feb. 20.

“If anyone tells you the hours of service change is a result of this (ELD rules) don’t believe them,” Mahorney says. “The hours of service regulation are the same as they were before. The electronic logging device only monitors what the actual hours of service on your vehicle is.”

Truckers have an hours of service limit of 11 hours of driving in a 24 hour period. Drivers can be on-duty a total of 14 hours consecutively, including the 11 hours of drive time. After 11 hours are reached, drivers must rest and be off-duty for 10 consecutive hours. Exemptions are in place for agriculture hauls within a 150 mile radius and for drivers who only drive eight days in a 30 day period.

Prior to the ELD drivers filled out paper logs. Using paper logs offered some flexibility where truckers might change the hours of service when needed. This was against the law, but was difficult to enforce. With an ELD there is no way to adjust the hours of service should something unforeseen happen during a haul.

In Mahorney’s role his goal is to ensure that rules, like the ELD, are enforced in a uniform manner across the country. However, he wants to work with livestock haulers and producers to find a solution to implementing the ELD with hours of service.

Cattlemen Concerned

A number of cattlemen in attendance at the committee meeting expressed concern to Mahorney of how enforcement of hours of service with ELDs could impact their operations.

Miles City, MT, rancher Fred Wacker questioned how inclement weather could impact the hours of service for a driver. Under the hours of service a trucker can get a few additional hours to drive when weather like ice extends the drive time.

“A couple hours may not be enough. You’ve got live animals on board. They need feed, they need water,” Wacker says. “I think there needs to be more flexibility.”

Wacker expressed interest in how using a team of drivers would work, too. If using a team of drivers with one driving and the other riding as a passenger, the hours of service would not apply to the passenger until they start driving and enter their unique identifier.

A point of interest that came to light for many in attendance was an exemption for hours of service that applies to the movie industry.

“Yes, the movie industry does have a limited exemption for hours of service,” Mahorney says.

“Why are they (movies) more important than hauling food?” Wacker asked. The question was met with a round of applause.

Mahorney expressed that livestock producers and haulers need to make comments to express their concerns and a petition for the hours of service could be made with enough interest.

Animal health and welfare has been a worry for Clint Berry, a rancher from Gainesville, MO.

“Unlike a load of steel, coal or electronics, we need some flexibility for the care of those animals,” Berry says.

Transporting cattle to the feedlot regions of the U.S. from cow-calf areas like the Southeast and West is difficult to do in the 11 hour period of drive time.

“We will have dead cattle on the side of the highway,” Berry cautions if flexible hours of service are not added because drivers would need to park for extended periods of time.

One option to prevent a catastrophe like this from happening is to unload the cattle, but that opens up other issues.

Berry says there are two major problems with the proposal to unload cattle at pens midway through a haul to rest: those facilities don’t exist and biosecurity.

“All of those things drive up the cost on our cattle,” Berry says. “As you enforce these rules those cattle that lie outside of that barrier (11 hours from feedlots) are going to have an incredible price deduction put on them. Buyers cannot simply bid on cattle that are 17 hours away.”

Mahorney says these types of comments are why the 90 day extension was placed on ELD implementation for livestock haulers.

“Facts will get you a long way when you are dealing with a petition,” Mahorney says. “If you don’t petition you won’t get anything.”

Commenting

Comments can be made going to the 90 day waiver published on the Federal Register website or directly by going to Regulations.gov.

Livestock groups like NCBA, the U.S. Cattlemen's Association and the National Pork Producers Council have also been submitting comments on behalf of their members. 

 

Note: The story has been updated to include information about commenting to FMCSA and to correct the waiver period end date to March 18. 

Comments

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Submitted by David Leonard on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 09:01

The Fmcsa better get to building a lot of pens capable of holding wild mustangs , buffalo , and large cattle.. with water and feed available for the livestock.. and somebody that is trained in handling large animals..to help reload them....

Submitted by Zak Eagle on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:13

There is no way that the feed and water would last the whole trip with the livestock constantly moving it would be dumped out and make the trailer a lot dirtier and make it a slipping hazard for both the livestock and the driver.

In reply to by David Leonard (not verified)

Submitted by Zak Eagle on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:10

I think that the cattle should get to be off loaded half way through the haul to take a break from being cooped up in confined spaces. I think that would make it less stressful on the cattle and easier on the driver to unload with less stress.

Submitted by david reed cactus cattle company cleburne tx on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 12:27

i have pens available in cleburne tx for resting your cattle, if it comes to that. i would think they would rethink this live stock hauling mess. maybe the law makers should be required to live what they preach

In reply to by Zak Eagle (not verified)

Submitted by Rafter M on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:57

We can get a whole industry going with resting lots for cattle...heck people don't need to afford to eat anyway

In reply to by david reed cac… (not verified)

Submitted by Ross VK on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 20:59

That sounds like a good idea but isn't. The highest chance of the cattle getting hurt or stressed is during the loading and unloading. So if we have to start unloading in between destinations and an animal breaks a leg while trying to rest them somewhere then what's the point. They would blame the trucker and make us pay for it which would take all profit out. Then there's the disease issue, when you start unloading and reloading a bunch of different animals from different locations they'll start spreading disease like wildfire. Either way eld or not the cost of your food is gonna rise significantly. Be prepared.

In reply to by Zak Eagle (not verified)

Submitted by Marc on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:56

This will drive the price of beef so high that people would not be able to afford to eat

In reply to by Zak Eagle (not verified)

Submitted by Shane Davis on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 10:33

Zak you must have never hauled cattle before. There's more stress put on the cattle unloading and reloading them. More of a chance the driver or cattle to getting hurt.

In reply to by Zak Eagle (not verified)

Submitted by Rebecca Gillespie on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 08:03

What will they do when they have 30 trucks out of drive time. An only 10 pens. On top of it. I believe have get new health papers. Its not going work for many reasons. They know it. Dragging their feet.

Submitted by Brad Welton on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:10

Livestock haulers are a special forces. We not only have to drive(which all some drivers do) we also have to be mechanically inclined to make sure our equipment makes a trip with live animals aboard and can fix what is possible along side of the road in case of a minor breakdown so we can get our live animals that we must care for, while on our trucks, to the destination alive and healthy. In case of bad weather we must push through and get them to the destination alive and well. Whether it's paper logs or eld's, we must be able to do our jobs with lives in mind. We must drive in a safer standard than other trucks. Leaving more room to stop in a smooth soft stop for the benefit of the livestock. We must not ram and jam. It jeopardizes the well being of the animals. Our drivers HAVE TO HAVE EXPERIENCE AND COMMON SENSE! My company has been in business since 1958 with no fatal crashes. That speaks for everything I have just said. We need flexibility to do our job effectively, safely, and to be good stewards to the livestock we haul!

Submitted by Brad Welton on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:08

Livestock haulers are a special forces. We not only have to drive(which is all some drivers do), we also have to be mechanically inclined to make sure our equipment makes a trip with live animals aboard and can fix what is possible along side of the road in case of a minor breakdown so we can get our live animals that we must care for, while on our trucks, to the destination alive and healthy. In case of bad weather we must push through and get them to the destination alive and well. Whether it's paper logs or eld's, we must be able to do our jobs with lives in mind. We must drive in a safer standard than other trucks. Leaving more room to stop in a smooth soft stop for the benefit of the livestock. We must not ram and jam. It jeopardizes the well being of the animals. Our drivers HAVE TO HAVE EXPERIENCE AND COMMON SENSE! My company has been in business since 1958 with no fatal crashes. That speaks for everything I have just said. We need flexibility to do our job effectively, safely, and to be good stewards to the livestock we haul!

Submitted by Jake the snake on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:31

I think its safe to say that many people are looking at the basic factors of hauling livestock and the devastating affectand the negative prospects of devastating affects that eld's are going to have when they are implemented on livestock trucks, there is for a fact no good outcome of it bottom line so quit dragging your feet put them in all trucks and when this country goes into economic collapse then you will realise how bad these little tracking devices are and that you dont really need to be spying on every one but be greatful that we work the long hours we do to keep america fed and then when that happens, we have negotation room for big changes in laws!! Oh yes and as far as forcing people to run team if i have to split my pay with some one just to keep trucking its not gona work so ya better figure out a better figure out a way to get freight rates up enough with out the consumer having to pay for it. I do myself 150-200k miles/ year so if im teaming that trucks doing well over 200k miles a year no ifs ands or buts about it!!

Submitted by Terry windholz on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 15:24

This is tyranny! If we lay down like all the other spineless idiots this will be lost forever!

Submitted by Carter Livestock on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 08:02

As a owner operator & haul livestock, there is no way you can have livestock on & stop because of this ELD! These animals being on a trailer without feed & water causes shrinkage & this is opening a door for animal cruelty!!!!! This is not only going to kill the livestock industry but it will hurt the producer & then the consumer! They say this is for safety..... have the ones pushing this climbed up in a truck & gone on a haul to see what these drivers deal with every day????? THIS IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK ! What about the cars out there on the roads that are driving erratically, texting while driving, talking on the phone, ECT.

Submitted by Nathan on Sat, 02/10/2018 - 10:06

Trucking industry has made it from day one. Point blank, you want to run an ELD, go for it. Don’t force it upon the rest of us. I don’t force anything upon you or your family. Don’t do it to mine. Be taking the clothes right off my kids backs, Food right out of their mouths. Livestock can’t sit on a trailer standing still for 10 hrs. The death will be through the roof. Animal rights activists ought to be on board with that. Face it, there is not enough drivers out there to run team operations. And definitely not enough money in it to feed 2 family’s off one income. This goes through, it will hurt not only the trucker, but everyone all the way down to the consumer. Which has clearly already taken affect at grocery stores, shelves going empty. Food spoiling. Costs going up. ELD mandate is a terrible idea. It’s not safer, for anyone. No computer tells you when you must sleep or work, so it should not tell me what to do and not do either.

Submitted by Poky DoRight on Sun, 02/18/2018 - 23:28

My last day hauling cattle after 31 years was Feb 17th 2018. Truck a 2005 is on the auction block, trailer going to the scrap yard because NO ONE would buy it. And I can write it off on my Grubberment Rape Fees aka Taxes.
Leaving the entire industry with a perfect driving record and no accidents ever.
They can ram it up their communist butts!

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:56

I'm just gonna call the closest peta people when it's 100 degrees out and I have to sit 10 hours