As we reported a little while ago, last year’s mandate for electronic logging devices left a lot of unanswered questions from truckers, specifically regarding time-sensitive shipments. Drivers hauling shipments for the medical and agricultural industries felt they were being put under even more pressure with enforced road time limitations. Now, after more than four months, trucking regulators are considering ELD waivers for drivers for certain industries.

Temporary ELD Waivers For Agricultural Shipments

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is allowing temporary ELD waivers for those hauling agricultural shipments. As things stand, agricultural truckers already have an ELD waiver which was set to expire at the beginning of last week. This comes as a big relief to the agricultural industry, as they are gearing up to handle spring shipments of produce and livestock. Considering the pressure to get perishable goods and live animals to their destinations on time, the new ELD waivers have the agricultural industry, as well as others, pushing for more permanent solutions from the FMCSA.

Reform At What Cost?

When the ELD mandate rolled out in December of 2017, the trucking industry and supply chains at large were hit hard. Fleet owners, drivers, and regular customers had operations disrupted, and everyone had to rethink how they were going to meet the demands of customers. The timing of the ELD mandate was not the best, as the trucking industry was and is experiencing a lack of drivers, which increased the stress of getting shipments delivered. To offset the burden, the FMCSA created special waivers, and announced that the ELD mandate would not be strictly enforced until this month. For agricultural shipments, truckers did not have to adhere to the ELD mandate, provided their deliveries were within a 150 air mile radius of the point of origin. Outside of that radius, drivers would have to switch over to their electronic logging devices. Many drivers and fleet owners say the ELD mandate, even with the 150 mile radius, is extremely disruptive, forcing more “hand-offs” along long distance routes.

More Than Just A Temporary Solution

The ELD mandate impacts far more than truckers making agricultural deliveries. Livestock owners claim the mandate and shorter road time hours place animals at risk. Industry analysts are gathering data on agricultural deliveries under the ELD mandate, as some are asserting there is an overall health risk to consumers and reduced revenue across the board. Congress is pushing for a more permanent solution than simply renewing ELD waivers, claiming the mandate is hurting commerce across the board.

As always, Express Freight Finance will keep readers updated as information is made available.