Help could be on the horizon for the smallest trucking companies, agricultural businesses

Two members of the House of Representatives are reaching across party lines to provide relief from burdens placed on agricultural businesses and the smallest trucking companies by the Electronic Logging Device mandate.

Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) and Greg Gianforte (R-Montana) filed the Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 23. 

This bill aims to permanently exclude the smallest trucking companies (those with 10 trucks or less) from having to comply with the ELD mandate.

This legislation will eliminate costly and time-consuming regulations for small trucking companies and individual owner-operators, which constitute much of the rural trucking industry. In addition, it will help reduce unnecessary stops and delays which threaten the quality of agricultural products on their way to market.
— Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota)

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) filed a bill in the U.S. House last year to try to hold off the ELD mandate for all trucking companies for two years. Nothing has come of this bill as of yet. 

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The bill recently introduced by Peterson and Gianforte is the first in Congress to focus on providing relief explicitly to small carriers and single-truck owner-operators from the ELD mandate, according to a TruckersNews article.

The Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act still has a ways to go, though. In order to become a law, the bill must pass both the House and the Senate, as well as receive President Trump’s stamp of approval. 

If something does come of this bill, it would grant carriers with 10 or fewer trucks the ability to use paper logs to document record of duty status, instead of ELDs.

Additionally, with ELD compliance dates for agricultural and livestock haulers closing in, the bipartisan duo introduced another bill May 23. The Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 would completely exempt agricultural businesses from the ELD mandate.

Electronic logging devices are another layer of unnecessary red tape that continues to tie up truckers and puts livestock and Montana livelihoods at risk. This measure is a step in the right direction as we reduce the burden this mandate places on Montana’s small trucking operations, farmers, and ranchers.
— Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana)
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As it stands now, those who haul livestock must implement ELDs by the end of September, while the deadline is even more pressing for ag haulers - they only have until June 19 to toss the paper logs and adopt ELDs.

In April, inspectors began placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with an ELD, as per a statement by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the purpose of ELD mandate – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.

However, since the April implementation of the ELD mandate, countless trucking companies have voiced concerns ranging from the cost of implementing ELDS in their fleet, to the conflict of ELDs and traffic congestion.