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February, 2018

How the Electronic Logging
Mandate will impact horse owners

Recently there has been a lot of concern from many horse people regarding ELD's
(click to enlarge)
Recently there has been a lot of concern from many horse people regarding ELD's Recently there has been a lot of concern from many horse people regarding ELD's
(click to close)

Recently there has been a lot of concern from many horse people regarding the fear that to come into compliance, the average horse owner might have to start keeping ELD's. ELD's are electronic logging devices which are what commercial interstate trucking companies use.

The flare up coincided with a mandate that on December 18, 2017, the ELD's ruling went into effect (for commercial trucking haulers) which made it necessary for them to transition away from maintaining paper logs. [That ruling was granted a 90-day delay putting the new compliance deadline at March 18, 2018 for those transporting livestock.] There are more parts to this rule (see below) and somehow the Internet got wind of it, twisted it a bit and soon had many horse owners and sites flared up.

In mid-January The Horse Gazette was lucky enough to be granted an in depth interview with the Texas Highway Patrol - specifically the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit. Sergeant John Adams led us to Sgt. Trey Pellizzari who took time to explain that no, nothing really has changed at all. Both of these men train the officers who actually enforce the commercial vehicle laws in Texas so they have to be up on the regulations.

The fear has become that a horse owner hauling their own horse to a show where they might win a trophy or even some prize money does not qualify that driver of that vehicle to the point of needing a Commercial Drivers License (like what professional truckers must have) simply because they might win a ribbon or receive remuneration for winning a class.

Sgt. Pellizzari was perplexed by the uproar. "I don't know where all this started but in the past three days my phone has gone crazy," he said. "We do know that there was a newscast in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that a fellow was being required to obtain a CDL because he hauls horses all over the country as a competitor, trainer, and breeder." Sgt. Pellizzari explained that the interviewee was a professional in the horse business and his rig appeared to meet the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) requirements of operating a vehicle plus trailer exceeding 26,000 lbs. This individual was going to be required to maintain an ELD (electronic logging device) also.

There is more to life with an ELD. The FMSCA (Federal Motor Safety Carrier Association) writes the laws surrounding ELD compliance. Average horse owners were worried that suddenly they too would be required to not only keep an ELD in their rigs but to also have to change their behavior to comply with the rules that go along with these devices. Some of these rules are that Interstate drivers are limited to 14 hours of on-duty time, after 8 hours of on-duty time, a driver must stop for a full 30 minutes of break before driving and only drive 11 hours max. A driver would need to take a ten-hour rest between driving shifts (or have a second person available to drive).

The confusion also morphed into the worry that a generic horse owner might fall under the onerous "commercial" category merely by accepting gas money from a friend riding along in their truck or sporting sponsorship logos on the sides of their vehicles.

Sgt. Pellizzari cited the specific code that addresses the category of what many of us horse owners fall into: FMSCA Part 390.3(f)(3) The occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation and not in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise.

In further addressing this exemption, written as guidance into the FMSCA is "Question 21: Does the exemption in 390.3(f)(3) for the 'occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise' apply to persons who occasionally use CMVs to transport cars, boats, horses, etc., to races, tournaments, shows or similar events, even if prize money is offered at these events?

Guidance: The exemption would apply to this kind of transportation, provided: (1) The underlying activities are not undertaken for profit, i.e., (a) prize money is declared as ordinary income for tax purposes, and (b) the cost of the underlying activities is not deducted as a business expense for tax purposes; and, where relevant; (2) corporate sponsorship is not involved. Drivers must confer with their State of licensure to determine the licensing provisions to which they are subject."

Weights of vehicles and trailers help determine the type of license one must have as well as whether the vehicles go across state lines for the purpose of doing commerce. Once you have reached the threshold of driving a combination of a vehicles or a straight vehicle that weighs or has a GVWR more than 26,000 lbs. (In the combination scenario, if the trailer weighs or possesses a GVWR more than 10,000 and the power unit weighs or possesses a GVWR enough to bring the entire unit's combination to greater than 26,000) you are looking at needing to have a CDL. If you are unable to claim the previously mentioned Question #21 exception, then you must maintain electronic logs.

A good source for info on the breakdown for CDL purposes on this is FMSCA Part 383.91, Sgt. Pellizzari said.

The average horse owner going to a show or the vet or helping out a friend does not need a CDL provided the weight and purpose of his or her enterprise is purely personal. You definitely do not need a CDL if your rig does not surpass the weight (GVWR) threshold either.

To find out where the closest location for CDL testing is, Sgt. Adams agreed that one could visit any driver's license bureau and inquire.

For more info, you can use the Texas Department of Public Safety's website at this location with this link in particular: http://www.dps.texas.gov/InternetForms/Forms/CVE-13.pdf

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