As a breeder, owner, trainer or competitor in the horse industry, it is important to understand the implications of the ELD Mandate that will be hitting the transportation industry in December of 2017. The facts are that unless we all speak up you may be required to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in your truck.
There are some exemptions in place for farm or agricultural hauling where an ELD would not be required. However, many of the rigs used for hauling horses and the activities horse owners participate in, especially those that frequently travel to horse shows, fall outside the allowed exemptions.
In 2012, President Obama signed the bill “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. A part of this bill included a provision requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) to develop a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on commercial vehicles.
Yes, horses are livestock and are specifically listed in the transportation bill language. It is not just the horse industry that is facing the ELD Mandate. Families that show cattle, pigs and other livestock and travel long distances to show and compete will be impacted as well. It will also impact any other type of activity or hobby that requires a large vehicle and trailer and where there is the potential to win money in competitions. The ELD Mandate requires that your vehicle must be fitted with a device under the following conditions:
It is not uncommon to see “Not For Hire” graphics on trucks and horse trailers. The idea behind this is to avoid certain Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. This is an old fable that does not protect those hauling horses from fines for non-compliance. A “Not For Hire” sign on your rig will not protect you if it is determined that your truck and trailer fit into the commercial category or are being used for commercial purposes. Nor will it protect you if you are driving a vehicle and trailer that requires a commercial license.
Living quarters horse trailers can be classified as recreational vehicles for private use. This classification exempts both the truck and trailer from being considered commercial as well as the requirements for the driver to obtain a commercial driver’s license. However, if an officer or inspector determines that the truck and trailer is being used in “furtherance of a commercial enterprise”, then the driver and vehicle are out of compliance with FMCSA regulations which can result in fines and being detained for an extended period. For example, we have been made aware of situations where the owners of truck and trailers stopped by the Highway Patrol or other inspectors, were required to both obtain a Department of Transportation (DOT) number for their vehicle, and find a driver with a commercial driver’s license in order to resume their trip. In these cases, once the ELD Mandate is in effect, the drivers could also have been required to purchase and install an ELD unit. (see below for clarification about the meaning of “furtherance of a commercial enterprise”)
The ELD or electronic logging device synchronizes with the engine of a vehicle and keeps track of hours of service. It logs driving time, vehicle speed, routes, and keeps track of mandated rest periods as well as other data points. Once the vehicle is in motion and reaches 5 miles per hour, the ELD keeps track of time for the next 14 hours – nonstop. Under the standard ELD regulations, there are no provisions to account for traffic, fueling, or loading and unloading. In those 14 hours, drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours. Because of this, drivers are forced to drive as much as they can during the 14 hours once the clock on the ELD starts.
Ten-hour rest period:
When the 14-hour limit has been reached, the ELD indicates to the driver that they must stop and “rest” for 10 consecutive hours. The ELD keeps track of any “infractions” – that is, going over the 14 hours as well as vehicle speed – and has reporting functions so inspectors can review the logs and fine drivers for infractions from days past. This means that those hauling horses will be required to stop their trip once the 14-hour threshold is reached and cannot resume travel until the 10-hour rest period has passed. If the threshold is breached, the ELD makes a record that can be reviewed by authorities and you can be fined.
Have you noticed in the last several years all of the trucks that are parked along the side of the road? Have you noticed that on and off ramps and picnic and rest areas are sometimes filled up with trucks? Those typically are drivers that have reached their limit and have to immediately find a place to park their trucks to avoid costly violations. If you are required to install an ELD for your truck and horse trailer, this could easily happen to you too.
According to the Hours of Service outlined in the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration rules, rest breaks are mandatory in addition to the ten-hour rest period. Commercial drivers are required to take a 30-minute break within the 11 hour driving period and cannot go past 8 hours without taking a break. This mandatory break is calculated from when the vehicle starts moving and is tracked by the ELD. It does not take into account any other stops or breaks that may have occurred within the 8-hour time period. The break must be 30 consecutive minutes. A driver cannot substitute the 30-minute break with a 10-minute break and later a 20-minute break. There is no getting around this as the ELD records and stores the 30 consecutive minute break periods and will subject the driver to penalty for a rule violation upon inspection. Additionally, the 30-minute break is included in the 14-hour time limit.
What constitutes a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) classification?
What “furtherance of a commercial enterprise” means:
The FMCSA rule has some language that is far reaching with significant ramifications for horse enthusiasts. The category “furtherance of a commercial enterprise” is one of the qualifications considered when determining whether a driver and their truck and trailer fall under the commercial classification and apply to the scenarios we have listed above. Here’s the information as outlined on the FMCSA website’s Q&A section:
"Question 21: Does the exemption in §390.3(f)(3) for the "occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise" apply to persons who occasionally use CMVs to transport cars, boats, horses, etc., to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?
Guidance: The exemption would apply to this kind of transportation, provided: (1) The underlying activities are not undertaken for profit, i.e., (a) prize money is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and (b) the cost of the underlying activities is not deducted as a business expense for tax purposes; and, where relevant; (2) corporate sponsorship is not involved. Drivers must confer with their State of licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject."
Do I need a Commercial Driver’s License?
Your truck and trailer can be considered a commercial vehicle without the requirement that you obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). However, you will need to obtain a CDL if your vehicle fits the following categories:
After passing the written and driving examination for a commercial license, including other steps such as a special medical examination, drug testing, and vehicle inspections, there are ongoing requirements for driving a vehicle that fall under the commercial classification. Each state has their own set of regulations in addition to the federal code so it is important to understand the laws in your state in regards to a commercial license.
Your vehicle may require a USDOT (Federal) number if your vehicle and travel meet the following conditions:
Depending on the state in which you live, you may also be required to obtain a State DOT if your truck and trailer are considered commercial vehicles.
Most drivers of commercial vehicles must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service.
Hours of Service require that drivers can only be on the road for 11 hours of a 14 hour shift. However, with the ELD, and the fact that the machines start recording time from the moment wheels move past 5 miles per hour, drivers are not able to make allowances for traffic, loading and unloading, and taking a longer rest, or breaking up rest time.
There are some exceptions to compliance with Hours of Service. They are listed below.
The Record of Duty (ROD) is a log book that every driver of a commercial vehicle must maintain and keep on file for 6 months. The following information must be logged into the ROD:
If you have a commercial vehicle and your activities fall outside of the exemptions for farming and agriculture, you will be required to install an ELD.
If you have a Commercial Driver’s License and therefore are required to follow the Hours of Service and keep a Record of Duty, you will be required to install an ELD.
Drivers transporting ‘agricultural commodities,’ including livestock, are exempt from the Hours of Service regulations while operating within 150 air-miles of the source of such commodities. Vehicles and drivers are exempt if they are not:
Short haul vehicles are exempt from the ELD Mandate. There are a few key components required to meet the FMCSA definition for short haul.
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