Now that the dust has somewhat settled we thought it appropriate in this blog to provide clarification, and hopefully eliminate some of the misconceptions and confusion over the use of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and how the Hours-of-Service (HOS) is administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to agricultural commodities, specifically produce.
Many of you have reached out to us over the past several months asking whether or not your carrier is subject to the HOS while enroute to load, waiting, or departing fully or partially loaded at your facility is exempt from HOS.
The exception is contingent upon the definition of the word “source.”
The “source” is the point at which an agricultural commodity is loaded onto an unladen commercial motor vehicle. The 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 packaging.
The answer has a few scenarios to consider, before we can clearly state yes the carrier is exempt.
Scenario 1: If you are the first point of pick-up
1) A carrier unladen and heading to your facility to pick up an unprocessed exempt agricultural commodity is exempt from HOS when it reaches a point within 150 air-mile radius of your facility (172.6 statute miles)
2) A carrier remains exempt from HOS while operating when a 150 air-mile radius of your facility; providing it does not pick up any non-agricultural commodity
3) Any transportation to pick up additional agricultural within a 150 air-mile radius of your facility is also exempt from HOS, and remains exempt until such time the carrier passes beyond a 150 air-mile radius from your facility
Scenario 2: If you are not-the first point of pick-up
1) If you are not the first point of pick-up, the carrier continues to be exempt from HOS as long as your facility is within the 150 air-mile radius of the point of first pick-up, and it has not loaded any non-exempt agricultural commodities
2) The carrier will remain so with any additional pick-up points until it passes beyond the first facilities 150 air-mile radius limitation.
Scenario 3: Intermediate Points
This scenario takes into consideration points of consolidation and subsequent transportation. A new source for a new trip may be identified, and the 150 air-mile radius for the exception will be around that new source.
As an example a forward distribution point may be treated as a “source” in addition to the location at which the agricultural commodity was first tendered to the carrier, e.g., packing or cooling facility. This is based on the fact that the original transportation terminated once all agricultural commodities have been offloaded at a delivery point.
For a diagram of how the exemption works please click HERE; click HERE for a fact sheet issued by the FMCSA, which we encourage you to provide to your carrier which will be both educational and may also be provided to any law enforcement officer during a roadside check.