February 2018 Issue - page 4

Page 4
February 2018
EAST COAST EQUESTRIAN
By Suzanne Bush
Anyone who regularly
commutes on interstate high-
ways in the mid-Atlantic region
is familiar with the scenario.
Whether it’s a jackknifed tractor
trailer, or a multi-vehicle accident
involving tractor trailers, it’s clear
that the day is not going to go as
planned. Traffic will be stalled for
hours; often chemical spills will
require hazmat crews for cleanup.
Inevitably these accidents result
in injuries—often catastrophic
injuries or death. Besides the
human costs, there are economic
Electronic Logging Device Mandate Affects Livestock Transporters
consequences. Hundreds of peo-
ple will be late for work or miss
important appointments.
While it’s true that the tractor
trailers and drivers are not always
at fault, the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA)
concluded that there are ways
to ensure that drivers of the big
rigs operate as safely as possi-
ble. To that end, in December
2015 FMCSA published a new
mandate as part of an ongoing
effort to consolidate and stream-
line data required from truck
drivers. The Electronic Logging
Device (ELD) mandate went into
effect in December 2017. ELDs
automatically track drivers’ hours
of service; they synchronize with
trucks’ engines so that additional
data are captured, such as hard
braking, speed, etc.
FMCSA regulates the hours
drivers may spend before man-
datory rest breaks. The hours of
service rules (HOS) specify how
many hours drivers must rest
after their shifts. Rules differ for
drivers carrying property versus
passengers. For instance, drivers
carrying property may drive 11
hours after 10 consecutive hours
off duty. ELD devices would track
the driving/resting data for drivers,
replacing paper logs that might be
vulnerable to false reporting.
Transporters Seek Waivers
Electronic data collection
has been common and relatively
uncontroversial in the trucking
industry. But the segment of
trucking that involves agricul-
ture—horse transportation, live
insect (such as bees for pollinating
crops) transport and cattle trans-
portation—fought the mandate.
The American Horse Council
(AHC), lobbying on behalf of
the horse transportation indus-
try, requested a one-year delay
along with waivers for agriculture
operations. On their website,
AHC points out that “The welfare,
safety, and health of the animals in
transit, together with the safety of
other drivers on the road, are top
priorities for the equine industry
and its enthusiasts.” While noting
that industry data show that
livestock haulers are among the
safest truckers, AHC asserts that
the rules were developed without
input from the livestock industry.
Andrea Gotwals, a spokes-
person for Brook Ledge Horse
Transportation, says that all their
trucks have ELDs. “Not trying to
disparage anybody,” she says, “but
we have team drivers for any truck
that goes long distances.” She sees
that as the ultimate protection for
horses. “Single drivers who abide
by the rules would need to stop
before the horses are delivered to
their destinations. They’re going
to be forced to park and take a
10-hour break. They’re going to
be required to sit for 10 hours.
And you’re adding time for horses
sitting on a truck.”
Brook Ledge, she says, has
team drivers, to comply with the
HOS rules. “One driver goes into
the bunk and the other driver starts
driving. We worked really hard to
do what we are able to do. Team
driving is not easy because you
have different personalities,” she
says. And the trucking industry is
always looking for drivers.
“We are still disappointed
in their lack of outreach,” Cliff
Williamson says. Williamson is
Director of Health and Regulatory
Affairs at AHC. He believes the
government didn’t do enough to
inform the industry about the ELD
mandate. “This is more than a
horse issue, it’s a livestock issue,
and they’ve failed to reach out to
the livestock industry at all,” he
says. “We are concerned that the
(Continued on page 17)
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation, headquartered in Oley, PA, uses dual
drivers to comply with the Electronic Logging Device mandate while getting
horses to their destination as quickly as possible. When one driver reaches
the 10-hour limit, the other takes the wheel.
Photo credit: Rick Samuels
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