Documents provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to the American Horse Council (AHC) suggest that equines transported for personal use will not be subject to Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Hours Of Service (HOS) regulations.
The FMCSA released two documents to the AHC this week that clarify Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), ELD and HOS regulations as they apply to the equine industry. These documents define the circumstances under which a person transporting horses does not need to comply with the FMCSA’s regulations.
According to the AHC, “The guidance titled ‘Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service (HOS) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Rules’ and ‘Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses’ explain how published FMCSA guidance provides an exception for the transportation of horses when the transportation in question is not business related.”
The FMCSA’s requirements for ELD and HOS compliance have recently raised concern in the farrier community. David Kimbrough, a farrier from Tuscumbia, Ala., and founder of Spurr’s Big Fix, has been working with members of the Alabama Legislature on legislation that will grant those in the equine industry exception to the ELD and HOS rules.
“It is going to ruin the horse business if we don’t do something,” Kimbrough says. “It’s already got people to where they’re scared to travel and show their horses for fear of getting caught and it’s getting worse by the day.”
Yet the FMCSA’s guidance documents imply that these issues are nothing to worry about as long as activities meet a specific set of criteria. The guidance document titled “Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses” includes a section that provides guidelines to safety officials who might stop a vehicle transporting horses. These guidelines stress that persons operating vehicles for personal use or with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) or Gross Combined Weight (GCW) may not need an ELD or CDL to operate.
More specifically, this guidance states that, “ … there are several ELD exceptions that may apply. Those include, but are not limited to drivers who operate solely within a 100-air-mile radius and work no longer than 12 hours each day, vehicles that are older than model year 2000, and drivers who are only required to complete RODS for eight (8) days or less in a 30-day period.”
However, the same guidance rules, “ … the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation exception for the commercial transportation of horses and other animals to shows and events … does not exempt the driver from the CDL requirement.”
The AHC says in a statement that it will continue to ask the FMCSA for clarification on these rules and will take appropriate actions when clarification is insufficient. The AHC will also continue to collaborate with the livestock industry to delay ELD enforcement. It encourages people to share their comments and concerns by emailing DOT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimbrough also encourages people to speak up on this matter.
“What we need is more people calling their states and calling their congressmen,” he says. “You don’t have to spend a lot of time. A lot of people don’t call because they don’t know what to say. Tell them all this.”