Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) are leading a bipartisan attempt to delay electronic logging device (ELD) implementation for livestock haulers.
On Dec. 5, 20 senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader (R-KY) Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader (D-NY) Chuck Schumer, supporting a provision in the House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations. Language in THUD delays enactment of ELD rules for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock or insects.
The letter says a delay will allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) additional time so adjustments can be made in hours of service rules that will help address animal welfare concerns.
“Livestock haulers are charged with the challenging task of ensuring motorist safety while protecting the welfare of animals being transported,” the senators write.
A number of agriculture groups including the United States Cattlemen's Association (USCA) have been asking for a delay in implementation to adjust the hours of service.
“We applaud each and every Senator who signed-onto this letter for showing their support of small business owners in rural and agricultural America. A vast majority of livestock haulers are both the owner and operator of their business and this upcoming regulation will disproportionately affect our ability to do business efficiently and affordably,” says Steve Hilker, USCA transportation committee chairman and owner of Steve Hilker Trucking Inc. in Cimarron, Kan.
ELDs are a record keeping device synchronized to a truck engine that logs information digitally. In real-time an ELD records data such as time spent on the road, miles driven, location and engine hours.
“Given that we are hauling a living, breathing commodity, the comfort and welfare of our cargo is of the utmost concern to livestock haulers. Once loaded onto the truck, these animals must get to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. An ELD would only serve to increase the number of stops included on a trip, extending the overall time that the cattle are on the trailer and adding additional stress during an already difficult experience in that animal's life,” Hilker says.
FMCSA has put a 90-day delay on the implementation ELDs for agriculture commodities. A 90-day waiver for agriculture commodities will begin on Dec. 18 in an effort for FMCSA to evaluate issues revolving around the hours of service requirements.
Along with Moran and Heitkamp, 18 other senators signed the letter. The other senators included:
- Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
- Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
- Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
- Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
- Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
- Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
- Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
- Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
- Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
- Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
- Sen. Mike Lee ( R-UT)
- Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)