Hoeven: DOT Finalizes 150 Air-Mile Exemption under Hours of Service Regulations for Ag-Related Transportation

Senator Working to Provide Permanent Relief, Flexibility in HOS & ELD Rules

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, today announced that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued final regulatory guidance regarding the agriculture commodity exemption, which the agency provided at Hoeven’s request, to its Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Specifically, this guidance clarifies:

  • That the following operations are not subject to the HOS regulations while operating within 150 air-mile radius of the source of the commodity:
    • Drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point.
    • Drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source of the agricultural commodity are not subject to the HOS regulations until they exit the 150 air-mile radius.
  • That a source location for the 150 air-mile radius may not only be the farm or ranch where the agricultural commodity originates, but also may include intermediate storage and loading facilities.
  • A commercial motor vehicle operator may utilize the personal conveyance exemption, or the movement of a commercial motor vehicle when the driver is off-duty, to:
    • Leave a shipper or receiver and travel to a safe location for rest.
    • Commute to and from work.
    • When the use of personal conveyance does not impact on-duty time.
  • That electronic logging device (ELD) manufacturers must include a special category for authorized personal use, which includes personal conveyance.

“Today’s announcement details the flexibility we secured last year under FMCSA’s HOS regulations for agriculture haulers,” Hoeven said. “The 150 air-mile exemption more closely reflects the real-world scenarios that commercial drivers face when carrying agriculture commodities and will help ensure farmers and ranchers can get their products to market safely. Moving forward, we will continue our efforts to provide a permanent solution that prevents one-size-fits-all rules for drivers hauling livestock and other agriculture products.”

Today’s announcement comes as part of Hoeven’s work to maintain the safe, efficient and humane transportation of livestock and builds on his successful efforts to both secure a delay of the ELD regulations and provide flexibility under the HOS rule for agriculture-related transportation. Further, Hoeven helped introduce the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act earlier this month. The bipartisan legislation would increase the HOS maximums and help address agriculture producers’ concerns that the ELD and HOS rules impose unworkable mandates on commercial drivers transporting livestock and jeopardize animals’ safety.

Hoeven also recently joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging the FMCSA to provide additional flexibility under its HOS regulations for all types of commercial drivers. The senators’ letter supports the FMCSA’s current efforts to identify appropriate regulatory relief and ensure the HOS rules promote safety while still working in real-world conditions.

The senator continues working to advance and pass into law a permanent solution to resolve agriculture groups’ concerns with the rules.