Hours of Service Guidance for Ag Haulers

Mark Schedler

New guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows agricultural commodity transporters greater flexibility for using the hours-of-service exemption in 49 CFR 395.1(k)(1) when their vehicle is empty or when traveling to multiple loading points. Specifically, drivers transporting agricultural commodities during the state’s planting and harvesting season are completely exempt from hours-of-service rules, which includes the requirement to use an electronic logging device (ELD) or an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), if they stay within a 150-air-mile radius of the source of the commodities.

The guidance did not change the requirement for agricultural commodity haulers to be subject to the hours-of-service regulations and the electronic logging requirements when outside of the 150 air-mile radius. An electronic logging device (ELD), or automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) until December 16, 2019, is required to log when hauling agricultural com­modities outside of the 150 air-mile radius if the driver has logged more than 8 times in any rolling 30-day period. However, there are a few exceptions to using electronic logs. Exemptions include:

  • Drivers hauling livestock and insects, regardless of distance (exempt through September 30, 2018)
  • Drivers operating a vehicle older than model year 2000 (per the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the registration) and containing the original engine
  • Drivers operating a vehicle with an engine model year 1999 and older, regardless of vehicle model year

While the following terms remain unchanged under the new guidance, they are worth reviewing:

Agricultural commodity means any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber, or livestock … and insects.”

Livestock means cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary of Agriculture that are part of a foundation herd (including dairy producing cattle) or offspring; or are purchased as part of a normal operation and not to obtain additional benefits under the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988, as amended.”

— 49 CFR 395.2

Note: The revised guidance only applies to the transportation of agricultural commodities in §395.1(k)(1), and does not apply to farm supplies or equipment for agricultural purposes. Therefore, §395.1(k)(2) and (3) are not affected by the new guidance.

Download our Ag Hauler fact sheet for more information.

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