Kenny Lund Discusses Latest on ELD Regulation Ag Exemptions
UNITED STATES - Admittedly, upon reading the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FMCSA’s recent announcement of regulatory guidance for transporting ag commodities, my initial reaction was that it was too good to be true. I said as much to produce transport and logistics expert and Vice President of the Allen Lund Company Kenny Lund when I asked him what it really meant.
“That was my reaction exactly—the government actually helped us!” Kenny says. “But this is it, and it’s fantastic for produce and transportation companies. It’s a game changer as far as what we were dealing with on the produce level of ELDs.”
FMCSA announced new regulatory guidance clarifying exception with regard to:
- Drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point
- Drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source of the agricultural commodity
- Determining the "source" of agricultural commodities under the exemptions
- How the exception applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip
And Kenny has been flooded with calls and emails as to what this all means.
“It’s even better than people think in two ways,” he regales me. “The 150 mile exemption is in air miles, so it actually calculates to about 172.6 miles—a bigger circle outside that packing shed than anyone thought. And it includes when you’re loading and unloading, so that is a lot of time you can operate before clicking on.”
The second big move of this clarification Kenny notes is a change in defining the point of origin of produce, and the impact bringing an empty trailer to the site can have.
“That 172.6 miles is from the point of origin, which can now be the packing shed instead the field. That is also a huge difference, and if the trailer is empty I can go into exempt hours in the 172.6 miles going into the packing shed because I’m still in the circle,” he says, helping me do the math. “So, instead of 150 miles it could be as high as 345.2 miles that you get to run exempt.”
All this could easily drop a day off of a cross country run with produce, Kenny says, and the circle for “local” produce, which was constricted by the initial regulations, could also be expanded further than even prior to the initial ELD specifications.
The effects are being seen as quickly as the word is getting out. The only hiccup Kenny can identify in what otherwise seems a smile from fate is that drivers do have to make sure they are stopped at that 172.6 mile mark to go off exempt, but with strategic planning in advance this can be minimal.
“I cannot stress enough how helpful this is if used the right way to help produce. It’s wonderful, and we’re trying to figure out how to get the word out to our customers. This is true, and this is big,” he assures. “The quicker words spread the more positive results we will see.”
So there you have it folks: it’s real, it’s rolling, and the more you put in the more we’ll all get out of it!