Hours of Service and Electronic Log Book Requirements for Agriculture

| DRC

In the July edition of Solutions, Jennifer Morris, President of Two Roads Logistics, wrote an informative piece about the ELD mandate in North America [link to article].  This article is a follow-up specifically addressing the “ag-exemption.”

49 CFR section 395.1(k) provides an exemption for Hours of Service (HOS) rules for agricultural commodities (including livestock, bees, horses, and other commodities defined as “agricultural commodity” under section 395.2) during planting and harvesting periods, to be determined by each State.

HOS rules do not apply to the transportation of these commodities moving within a 150 air-mile radius (or 172.5 statute miles) from the source.  Working hours and driving hours are not limited in this situation.  The driver is not required to use an electronic logging device (ELD) or keep paper logs.  The time a driver spends working within the 150-mile radius does not count towards their daily or weekly limits; he/she is considered off-duty.  Outside of the 150 air-mile zone, HOS regulations apply; the driver’s work and drive hours must be within the limitations of the HOS rules.

To use an example, if a driver was delivering a load of fresh vegetables from the source to a location five hours away (assuming the 150 air miles accounted for 3 hours of driving time), the first three hours of the five-hour trip would not count towards their HOS.  If the driver unloaded and returned empty to the source, once the driver re-entered the 150-air mile zone, they would once again be considered off duty.  As a result, in this scenario, a driver could be on the road for ten hours, and only four of those ten hours would count towards their hours of service.  Similarly, a driver could never leave the 150-air mile zone travelling back and forth from source to location multiple times a day and not be subject to HOS rules at all.

Another ELD exemption of note (applicable to all commercial motor vehicles, not exclusively to those hauling agricultural commodities) pertains to the year of the engine.  If a driver is using a vehicle manufactured before the model year 2000, they are exempt from having to install ELDs, provided they maintain paper logs.

For more detailed information please visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/agricultural-commodity

About the Author:

Jennifer has 15 years experience in the produce and transportation industries.  Two Roads Logistics specializes in produce, food and helping unique start-ups with their transportation needs. Jennifer is also a member of the Education Committee for the CPMA and a columnist for the Grower.