ASI Files Comments on Electronic Logging
December 1, 2017

American Sheep Industry Association President Mike Corn of New Mexico weighed in this week requesting a one-year delay (and subsequent waiver) on enforcing the rules surrounding the transportation of livestock. ASI's comments were directed toward the application for exemption from the National Pork Producers Council.

"On behalf of the members of the American Sheep Industry Association, I write to request that you grant a one-year enforcement delay followed by a waiver and limited exemptions from compliance with the December 18, 2017, implementation date for the Final Rule on Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service 80 Fed. Reg. 78292. Moreover, I request that you take actions to address the significant problems with the current mandate that will occur if the compliance deadline is not extended by your agency.

"The welfare and safety of the animals in transit, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are top priorities for the U.S. sheep industry. Unlike their counterparts driving conventional commercial motor vehicles, most livestock haulers follow the transportation guidelines in the industry's Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance program and Sheep Care Guide, both of which provide instruction on proper animal handling and transportation methods. The SSQA is the national certification program for the sheep industry and is auditable similar to the other livestock transportation education programs. SSQA was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"As reflected in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's data, the emphasis this program places on animal welfare, benefits driver safety as it encourages livestock haulers to slow down, be more aware of their surroundings and road conditions that could result in animal injury.

"The livestock sector has consistently been one of the safest of the commercial hauling sectors. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, conducted by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute, showed that of 1,123 accidents involving trucks hauling cargo, only five involved the transportation of livestock. Similarly, the report titled Trucks Involved in Fatal Accidents Factbook 2005, conducted by the Transportation Research Institute, shows that livestock transporters accounted for just 0.7 percent of fatal accidents. The ELD mandate itself, which is the subject of this petition, does nothing to improve that record of safety over paper logs.

"Despite its being issued nearly two years ago, awareness for this rule among livestock haulers and the industry is low. The lack of stakeholder outreach has led to a lack of awareness within the livestock industry, particularly among livestock drivers, about the rule. More time is needed to reach out to the livestock industry, and ensure that industry education and certifications programs like the Sheep Care Guide include ELD compliance and use in their materials. For instance, FMCSA's recent change to include livestock in its interpretation of the 150-air mile exemption for agricultural commodities, a change that the industry strongly supports and appreciates, has raised many additional questions from livestock haulers who are unsure about the mechanics of the new exemption and even if it means they are exempt from the ELD mandate itself.

"Granting a waiver and limited exemption from the ELD mandate for livestock haulers will enable FMCSA to reach out to livestock haulers effectively, allow for long-standing livestock transportation safety and training programs to make needed adjustments, and provide the necessary time for training livestock haulers on the use of ELDs."

ASI's full comments are available at https://d1cqrq366w3ike.cloudfront.net/http/DOCUMENT/SheepUSA/ASI%20Comments%20FMCSA-2017-0297.pdf.