Livestock Haulers Still Exempt from ELD Rules During Shutdown

Transporters of livestock can still use paper logs while the government is shut down and a spending bill is waiting to be approved in Washington DC. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

As the government shutdown continues, livestock haulers remain exempt from enforcement of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.

The shutdown that began on Dec. 21, 2018, has had a number of impacts on government functions including the ongoing delay of ELD implementation for livestock and insect transporters. A resolution to put more time on the clock for implementation of ELDs for livestock and insect haulers remains in the federal spending bill that has yet to be approved by President Trump and will be reevaluated in Congress.  

A notice on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website states the following in regards to ELD implementation: “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.”

That means for the time being livestock haulers can continue documenting Hours of Service with paper logs, which has been the case since the majority of other truckers started following the ELD rules on Dec. 18, 2017. The update on the current status of ELD exemptions was posted by FMCSA on Dec. 14, 2018, when a previous delay was about to expire. There have been a number of delays implemented through various spending bills in the past year. 

The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) cautions that with the House of Representatives changing control at the start of January 2019 there could be difficulty in continuing the delay to September 30, 2019, as was intended in the latest spending bill vote.

“This turn of events may have a dramatic impact on livestock haulers who are currently operating under the 2018 spending bill’s delay of ELD implementation. LMA and industry partners were successful in advocating for similar ELD delay language in both the Senate and House versions of the 2019 budget, which, if passed, would continue the delay until the end of September 2019,” a recent press release from LMA says.

LMA advises haulers of livestock to look into getting an ELD for their vehicles as the regulation could become permanent sooner than anticipated.

Steve Hilker, owner of a livestock hauling business in southwest Kansas, has been advocating for Hours of Service reform the past few years as the transportation committee chairman for the U.S. Cattlemen's Association. During a recent Facebook Live, Hilker shared some thoughts on where ELD and hours of service reform stood at currently.

“What we have is another can kicking down the road. We are exempt (on) ELDs until further notice, the FMCSA put that out in their update,” Hilker says. 

Hilker notes that there has been confusion about the exemption in a number of states, including Iowa, Colorado and California. Hilker is optimistic that bills like the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (TLAASA) will help resolve issues with Hours of Service for livestock haulers. 

Listen to Hilker's update in the Facebook Live below:

For more stories on developments in the ELD and hours of service rules read: