The FMCSA will soon be providing additional guidance related to enforcement procedures during the ELD transition. According to a recent announcement by the FMCSA this week, this guidance is to further facilitate motor carriers and to ensure “the smoothest and least intrusive way to implement this [ELD] rule.”

The FMCSA specifically mentioned that the ELD rule is going forward as planned on December 18, 2017. At the same time, the agency said that they want to successfully implement the ELD mandate in a manner that “improves safety without impeding commerce.”

The FMCSA Deputy Administrator, Cathy F. Gautreaux, said, “FMCSA has listened to important feedback from many stakeholder groups, including agriculture, and will continue to take steps to ease the transition to the full implementation of the ELD rule.”

The FMCSA is taking a few major steps to ensure a smooth and comfortable ELD transition.

First, the agency will be issuing a 90-day waiver to the agricultural industry, especially those carriers that haul livestock.

According to Joe DeLorenzo, the head of the office of enforcement and compliance at the FMCSA, “What [the waiver] will allow us to do is consider their situation in terms of hours-of-service. First, it will allow us the time to consider the exemption request that has been filed on behalf of the industry, and the second thing the waiver will allow us to do is [to] publish another guidance document that will be published for comment so we can hear from the industry.”

The FMCSA clarified that the concerns from the agricultural industry are specifically related to the hours-of-service rules, not ELDs. The additional period of three months will help them evaluate these issues.

In the coming weeks, the agency will publish guidance for comment relating to the HOS exemption application of the agricultural community. The FMCSA will also provide guidance on the current 150 air-miles hours-of-service exemption to provide further clarity to the industry.

Apart from the 90-day waiver to the agricultural industry, the FMCSA will also publish another guidance regarding the concerns and questions surrounding Personal Conveyance and electronic logging devices.

According to Joe DeLorenzo, “We are going to publish some sort of contents on personal conveyance to explain to the industry our interpretation of when a movement by drivers isn’t subject to the hours-of-service regulations. What this guidance will do is provide clarity and consistency across the industry.”

The FMCSA has also announced that violations cited during December 18, 2017, and April 1, 2018, will not affect a carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. Previously, the CVSA announced that vehicles without ELDs would not be placed out-of-service until April 1, 2018, but they would be cited and fined. Non-exempt drivers and carriers should procure a compliant ELD solution before that.

A formal publication of the guidance is expected within the next two weeks, and it will also include a public comment process. According to the agency, public participation in this guidance is crucial to the process.

To read the official announcement, click here.