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FMCSA Clarifies Ag Hauler HOS Exemption
Foley
3 mins read

JUNE 12, 2018 – The FMCSA has clarified a few key points of the hours of service exemption for agricultural haulers. Published in the Federal Register last week, this exemption relates specifically to the 150 air mile radius exemption, and how it can be used by ag haulers. As defined by the federal government, this exemption applies to any commercial motor vehicle driver that hauls “any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber or livestock . . . including insects.”

The premise of the 150 air mile exemption is as follows: agricultural haulers can travel freely within 150 air miles of the source (more on that later) without adhering to any federal hours of service regulations. There is no limit to how much they can drive, no required breaks, no logs to fill out, and no requirement that the truck be loaded. In truck miles, this equates to 172.5 miles from the location where the first pick up was made.

Pinpointing the ‘Source’

According to the FMCSA, the location where you pick up the agricultural commodity that is being delivered is the ‘source.’ It’s that location that sits in the center of your 150 air mile radius for that day. If you’re making more than one pickup and delivery, you must use the location of the first pickup as your source.

It’s important to note that while a farm or ranch may be considered a ‘source,’ it could be any place where agricultural commodities are stored and loaded (a grain elevator or storage facility, for example). In the words of the FMCSA, “As long as the commodity retains its original form, a place where the commodity is aggregated and stored may be treated as a “source” from which the 150 air-mile radius is measured.”

Exceeding the Radius

 If at any point you exceed the 150 air mile radius, the hours of service regulations immediately kick in and you must start logging your hours. Keep in mind that the clock starts at zero when you cross outside of the radius – you don’t need to track any of the on-duty or driving hours that occurred within the 150 air mile exemption zone.

Although ELDs would be required once you cross outside of that air mile radius, there are a few ELD exemptions that may apply to  you. For example, if you’re only traveling outside of that radius infrequently, you can use paper logs instead. ELDs are only required when you’re keeping logs more than 8 days out of any rolling 30 day period.

According to guidance published by the FMCSA, “This regulatory guidance is issued to ensure consistent understanding and application of the exception by motor carriers and State officials enforcing HOS rules identical to or compatible with FMCSA’s requirements.”

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