The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued another 90-day delay from electronic logging device compliance for agricultural haulers.

A regulation mandating commercial truck drivers to use ELDs to monitor working hours went into effect Dec. 18, 2017, for all other commercial drivers, but a 90-day extension was granted Wednesday to haulers in the agricultural field following a push from Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and others.

The legislators argued that more time was needed to adjust how ELDs work in the agriculture field, as hauling living things don’t always fit into a clean time frame.

“Part of the trouble with the mandate is how time is counted,” Kansas Cattlemen’s Association Board Vice President Perry Owens said. “Drivers may have to wait in line a couple hours to pick up a load of cattle.”

Time counted for drivers begins as soon as any type of work starts. Current regulations allow drivers a 14-hour window to drive a total of 11 hours before they must stop and wait 10 hours or more.

Owens said safety for the livestock is the main issue. Drivers may not be able to get livestock to the assigned destination within the allowed driving time. This means drivers will have to find an acceptable place to offload livestock for 10 hours.

“You can’t just pull over on the side of the road with a load of cattle,” Owens said. “If you can get to a sale barn -- and the sale barn will even hold them -- you run the risk of exposure to disease, etc.”

While Owens and the KCA are happy another delay has been approved, he said KCA would like to see an exemption for livestock haulers. The delays were approved to allow more time to make adjustments to the ELD mandate, so it could better fit with the schedule of agricultural haulers, but Owens said a solution may not be possible.

The ELD mandate was introduced to more efficiently keep track of commercial driver logs, as well as more easily enforcing the 14-hour window, which should lead to fewer accidents on the road.

Kansas Farm Bureau Senior Director of Advocacy Ryan Flickner agreed that the delay was necessary. While he didn’t mention a full-on exemption, he said regulations need to be adjusted.

"Kansas Farm Bureau is pleased with a 90-day exemption to the Electronic Logging Device mandate and underlying Hours of Service regulations,” Flickner said. “Burdensome and unrealistic regulations such as these do not reflect the unique realities agricultural producers face in humanely treating livestock. We look forward to working towards a common sense, and longer term, resolution to the situation."

Chance Hoener’s agriculture roots started on farms and ranches in Southeast Kansas. Now he covers Kansas agriculture as the Kansas Agland editor. Email him with news, photos and other information at choener@hutchnews.com or by calling (620) 694-5700, ext. 320.