June 6, 2018

Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Federal Government guidance for produce

Many of you that subscribe to the bi-monthly Produce Insights have no doubt been following the ELD mandate and the impact to transporting produce over the past several months, which was first reported in the then titled Tommy O Blog on November 22, 2017.

While Western Growers over the last six months has been reporting on the ELD implementation through our Spotlight, since some of you may not be subscribed to that particular newsletter, we thought it appropriate to make sure everyone is brought up to date on the final guidance published by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration. Below, we are reprinting an article, which is taken from the Western Growers Spotlight released on May 31, 2018.

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 edge of 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.

In addition, please find attached a one page highlight of the guidance for your easy review (click here). We encourage you to work closely with your carriers and/or third party intermediary in coordinating shipments and for consistent application of this final federal guidance. We anticipate, like with any new federal government guidance, that education with all States to ensure uniform enforcement may take weeks. You may want to consider providing the one page FMCSA information sheet link attached to educate carriers and that they have a document to share with law enforcement when operating under the agriculture exemption.

For questions, please contact Ken Gilliland at [email protected], or (949) 885-2267 or Matt McInerney at [email protected] or (949) 885-2263.