The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued regulatory guidance today to clarify the applicability of the “Agricultural Commodity” exception with the “Hours of Service of Drivers.”
The guidance clarifies the exception with regard to:
- Drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point to original origin.
- Drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-mile from the source of the agricultural commodity.
- Determining the “source” of agricultural commodities under the exemptions.
- How the exception applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip.
The FMCSA now states that the agricultural exception should apply to all portions of a round trip involving agricultural commodities that occur within the 150 air-mile radius of the source, regardless if loaded or empty or whether the destinations is outside the allotted radius.
The FMCSA now states that the “source” of an agricultural commodity includes more than just the original location at the farm or field. The FMCSA recognizes that further regulatory guidance may be necessary as the industry and enforcement communities adjust to these clarifications. The pick-up location may be any intermediate storage or handling location away from the original source at the farm or field provided the commodity retains its original form and is not significantly changed by any processing or packing.
Regarding multiple pick-up points, the FMCSA states that while multi pick-ups are permissible, the 150 air-mile radius will continue to be measured from the first pick up.
Click here to read the complete guidance issued by FMCSA.
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