U.S. Ag Haulers Essential to America


BILLINGS – A new 90-day waiver regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Electronic Logging Device and Hours of Service regulation has been granted for those who haul Ag commodities and livestock.

Agricultural haulers like Rod Smith, owner of Rod Smith Trucking in Billings, say the entire trucking industry is very important to America.

“The general public is unaware of what goes on in the livestock transportation and I would say the trucking industry as a whole,” said Smith. “They go to the store and get their milk, butter, bread and meat. They don’t know how it gets there they just go there and expect it to be there.”

Russ Christoferson is captain of the Billings District Motor Carrier Services and says even though the ELD technology is new for the U.S. trucking industry, the same hours of service rule hasn’t changed.

“The purpose of the ELDs is just a different way to record your hours of service. So, basically instead of having a paper log book, the ELDs now just do it electronically,” said Christoferson.

For Smith, it’s not the new ELD technology that needs to be changed, it’s the 14 hours of service.

“On paper, we were able to kind of adjust that time to fit our needs best. But, with the ELDs being electronic, there’s no way to adjust that time,” he said.

RELATED: Montana Ag: New trucking regulations will hurt Montana livestock industry

Christoferson said they understand the challenges of hauling Agricultural products that’s why current law gives Ag haulers an hours of service exemption free zone.

“If you’re within 150 miles, you don’t have to have a log book at all if you’re hauling an Agricultural commodity,” he said.

There’s also been confusion about these new rules for those pulling horse trailers with pickups.

“If it’s not commercial, the ELDs rules don’t apply, the CDL rules don’t apply and none of the FMCSA rules would apply at that point,” said Christoferson.

And what do Ag haulers hope this new 90-day waiver will get them?

“I would hope we could get some commonsense from the legislators and even far up as President Trump to get some stuff done with this, some common sense rules,” Smith said.

For commercial truckers and commercial trucking companies, the Motor Carriers of Montana is conducting ELD and Hours of Service Seminars around the state. This week they were in Miles City and Billings and next week they’ll be in Great Falls and Missoula. For more information about the upcoming seminars, click here.

Source: MTN & Northern Ag Network

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How do I get contact information on ag exempt trucking companies. Possibly looking to get a ag exempt driving job. I’m old school and elds are not for me I live in Spokane Washington. Thanks. .

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