CATCH THE BUZZ – Animal Haulers, Including Migratory Beekeepers, Can Wait 90 Days Before Complying With Electronic Logging Requirements.

Ross Courtney, Good Fruit Grower –

The federal government has granted truckers who haul live animals, including honeybees destined for tree fruit pollination duty, a 90-day reprieve from enforcement of electronic logging device requirements.

Beekeepers had joined a group of livestock producers in asking for more time to comply with new laws that require all trucks to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs.

ELDs are hardwired to commercial trucks to keep track of driving time, limited by federal safety laws. By Dec. 18 this year, they will become mandatory for all other drivers, replacing paper logs kept honor-code style by the drivers themselves. The new law would not change existing hours-of service rules, which limit truckers to 11 hours of driving following a 10-hour rest with a host of exemptions for agricultural drivers.

Beekeepers and other livestock owners fear the devices could arbitrarily force a driver to stop driving in the middle of a hot day, putting the animals they carry at a health risk. Beekeepers already struggle to find enough drivers to haul bees from California orchards in the Northwest and Midwest in time for bloom.

The groups had petitioned Congress for a year-long exemption through federal budget funding clauses. On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation, responding to those concerns, granted the 90-day waiver for all agricultural hauling to evaluate exemption requests and provide guidance on existing exemptions to hours-of-service.