The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration just released some guidance related to agricultural operations and ELD (Electronic Logging Device) use. The hours of service regulations contained in 49 CFR 395.1(k), provide exemptions for agricultural operations during planting and harvesting seasons as determined by the state, within a 150 mile radius, for the transportation of agricultural commodities. The same provision applies to the delivery of supplies and equipment for agricultural use from a wholesale or retail distribution point.
The guidance includes the following:
•The hours of service regulations do not apply to the transportation of agricultural commodities wholly within a 150 air mile radius. Work and driving hours are not limited and the driver is not required to use an ELD. In an operation where an agricultural driver shares a truck equipped with an ELD, the driver that is always exempt can use the “EXEMPT DRIVER” account.
•Once an agricultural driver operates outside the 150 air mile radius the hours of service rules apply. Starting at the time. and location where the transponder goes past the 150 air mile radius, the driver must maintain logs using an ELD unless the driver meets one of the limited ELD exceptions. The driver must work and drive within the limitations of the hours of service regulations when operating beyond the 150 air mile radius. All prior time operating within the 150 air mile limit do not count toward the driver’s daily and weekly limits.
•When operating within the 150 air mile radius, the driver should not log into the ELD, and annotate the unassigned vehicle miles as exempt.
•A driver transporting agricultural commodities is not required to use an ELD if they do not operate outside of a 150 air mile radius for more than 8 days in a 30 day period, or if the vehicle was manufactured prior to the model year 2000, provided they prepare a paper log for those days that they don’t meet the exemption.
•Covered Farm Vehicles as defined in 49 CFR 390.5 are exempt from the hours of service regulations. Carriers operating under this exemption are also not required to have an ELD. That includes the private transportation of agricultural commodities and livestock.