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FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver for Transporters of Agricultural Commodities and Additional Transition Guidance
***Updated March 19, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety...READ MORE.

Trucking ELD and Agricultural Exemption — What You Need to Know
***Updated February 6, 2018

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that enforcement officials will give carriers a break on giving Out of Service orders for electronic logging device (ELD) violations until April of 2018.

For commercial drivers required to keep track of their hours of service (HOS) and record of duty status, enforcement officers will be looking to see that drivers have proper logs and are in compliance with HOS requirements. From Dec. 18, 2017 through April 1, 2018, drivers who aren't using an ELD but have paper logs in order will receive a citation but won't be placed out of service.   

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that carriers without ELDs after the implementation date won’t incur points against their CSA (compliance, safety, accountability) scores until April 1, 2018. However, drivers out of compliance before the April 1 cutoff will be cited and possibly fined, according to the FMCSA.

As we’ve reported, the trucking electronic logging device (ELD) mandate took effect December 18. The agency handling the enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has been under increased scrutiny as the deadline approached. 

Perhaps the biggest issue affecting the grower community centers around the agricultural exemption, which exempts certain transporters of agricultural commodities from the Hours of Services rules. It applies to carriers that deliver agricultural commodities within a 150-mile radius of the source of commodities, as well as the delivery of supplies and equipment for agricultural use from a wholesale or retail distribution point. However, the exemption is plagued with ambiguity. 

Production of nursery and greenhouse crops is properly considered agriculture under a wide array of federal statutes and regulations. However, it is unclear if this exemption applies to our industry. 

The vague and unhelpful definition of agricultural commodity that was chosen for the legislation which enacted this mandate, The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (or MAP-21), is causing compliance confusion for several agricultural sectors, not just horticulture. The rules, as published in the Federal Register, define “agricultural commodity” as follows: “…Agricultural commodity means any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber, or livestock (including livestock as defined in sec. 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 [7 U.S.C. 1471] and insects).” 

This definition has created more questions than answers, as the core term “agricultural commodity” is left open to interpretation. The AmericanHort advocacy team has met with officials at the FMCSA and USDA to press for a clearer definition that properly recognizes nursery and greenhouse crops as agricultural commodities. We have also engaged members of Congress on this issue, who have in turn asked the FMCSA to clarify the definition. 

At the time of this writing, the issue is still unresolved. However, FMCSA has issued a notice of proposed regulatory guidance to clarify the definition of agricultural commodity. The public may comment for 30 days via a multitude of ways. Perhaps the easiest is online, which can be submitted by visiting www.regulations.gov and putting the docket number FMCSA-2017-0360 in the keyword box and clicking “Search.” When the new screen appears, click on the “Comment Now!” button, type your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party, and then click submit. AmericanHort plans to comment formally on behalf of the industry. 

It should be noted that there is a “soft enforcement” period for the next six months, where vehicles will be issued citations and not be placed out of service for not having ELDs, and no points will be assessed to safety scores. However, state and local law enforcement agencies could still be able to cite and fine drivers for driving without an ELD.


Truckers hauling agriculture loads and livestock will receive an additional 90 days to comply with the U.S. DOT’s electronic logging device mandate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced. The waiver gives such haulers until mid-March to adopt an ELD, extending the original required date of December 18, 2017 by about three months. 

FMCSA will soon publish a public notice in the Federal Register announcing the compliance extension, as well as a notice with fresh guidance for livestock haulers relative to both the ELD mandate and hours of service.

On December 18, 2017 - the  Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate will go into effect - requiring all trucking fleets to fit an ELD within their vehicles in order to comply with new regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

The electronic logging device (ELD) rule – congressionally mandated as a part of MAP-21 – is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.

Implementation Timeline

The ELD rule is being implemented in three phases:

12/16/2015 ELD  Final Rule Published. Phase 1: Awareness and Transition Phase - Voluntary use of ELDs; 12/18/2017 ELD Final Rule Compliance Date. Phase 2: Phase-In Compliance Phase - Mandatory use of ELDs with existing ABORDs grandfathered for 2 years; 12/16/2019 Mandatory Use of ELDs - Phase 3: Full Compliance Phase



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