The guidance that has been drafted for these two issues is as follows:
Question 34: Does the agricultural commodity exception (395.1(k)(1)) apply to drivers while driving unloaded to the source where an agricultural commodity will be loaded, and to the unloaded return trip after delivering an agricultural commodity under the exception?
Guidance: Yes, provided that trip does not involve transporting other cargo and the sole purpose of the trip is to complete the delivery or pick up of agricultural commodities, as defined in part 395.2. In that case, driving and on-duty time are not limited, nor do other requirements of part 395 apply.
Question 35: Does the agricultural commodity exception apply if the destination for the commodity is beyond the 150 air-mile radius from the source?
Guidance: The exception applies to transportation during the initial 150 air-miles from the source of the commodity. Once a driver operates beyond the 150 air-mile radius of the source, part 395 applies. Starting at zero from that point, the driver must then begin recording his or her duty time, and the limits under the 11-hour, 14- hour, and the 60/70- hour rule apply. Once the hours of service rules begin to apply on a given trip, they continue to apply for the duration of the trip, until the driver crosses back into the area within 150 air-miles of the original source of the commodities and is returning to that source. If the driver is not returning to the original source, the HOS rules continue to apply, even if the driver reenters the 150-mile radius.
In addition to the guidance, FMCSA is also asking for input on what should be included as the “source” of the commodity. Once issued, the comment period will be open for 30 days. CFBF along with AFBF will be submitting comments and would welcome any input.