ELD Mandate Problematic For Livestock Transportation, Drivers Headed to D.C. this Summer

by Jake Tully - Published: 4/27/2017

With the electronic log mandate less than eight months away, many different types of truckers have raised concerns about the impending rule – especially those hauling live animals.

Considering that the ELD mandate was implemented in order to promote safety on the roads and keep drivers from working past the prescribed hours, livestock haulers are not exempt from adopting the system.

This rule, however, has those who make a living driving cattle, sheep and other creatures worried about the future of their jobs and well-being of their freight. Those working with livestock perceive the problem to be so overwhelming that they plan to head to Washington this June to argue for an exemption.

"There was no thought given to the living, breathing commodities," said Steve Hilker, reporting from Hilker Trucking, Inc, based out of Cimarron, KS. "There is no advantage [from the ELD mandate] to livestock haulers."

Hilker explained that while the mandate may not prove to be problematic for all drivers, it is possible that it will be especially difficult for drivers transporting livestock from the northern states.

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As the current rules stand, a driver may not run after 60-70 hours of consecutive duty in seven or eight days. Additionally, an 11-hour driving limit has been imposed after a driver has seen 10 hours off the job as well as 30-minute breaks every 8 hours.

Due to the current time restrictions, livestock trucking jobs who run long distances will feel the impact of the mandate in particular.

"Anything hauled over 500 miles is where it's going to really affect us. We just don't have the ability to unload for 10 hours," said Hilker. "What happened is it's a giant one-size-fits-all mandate. Nobody was at the table saying 'What about the livestock hauler?'"

Currently, oil field drivers see an exemption for the time-related rules, giving drivers the opportunity to break up the 10-hour downtime to handle duties such as loading and unloading and other regular duties.

Hilker and other concerned parties in the livestock industry will share their concerns and perceived problems with the mandate when they travel to the Capital in June.

Hilker and company feel positively about the Trump Administration hearing their concerns. They believe lawmakers will take current exemptions such as those for oilfield workers into consideration when hearing the cases made by livestock haulers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed an appeal against the mandate, claiming that ELD’s are unwarranted surveillance of drivers as well as violators of the fourth amendment.

The OOIDA has asked Elaine Chao to include ELD in the list of the current administration’s proposed federal regulations cuts. The OOIDA estimates that implementing ELD’s will cost the industry nearly $2 billion.

While the American Trucking Association has shown support for the mandate, the organization has made note that the livestock sector of transportation has been overlooked in the ruling.