In June, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, also known as MAP-21. For farmers, the law included a set of five exemptions from motor carrier safety regulations (MCSR).
“Farmers likely will not see the full effect of the exemptions for months,” Rund said last week.
“Farmers who can qualify for the MAP-21 exemptions will find additional relief from the rules and a lot more territory in which to operate -- once the exemptions kick in,” Rund said. “How long it will take before things settle out is anyone’s guess.”
Neither federal nor state implementation rules have been written, and Illinois will not be able to draft its own regulations until the federal rules are finished, Rund explained.
Once the rules are written, government agencies’ enforcement policies likely will evolve throughout the early phases of implementation, Rund said.
Illinois farmers already have most of the exemptions, he added.
For example, two of the exemptions would excuse farmers from needing to obtain commercial driver’s license (CDL) and from drug and alcohol testing. Those exemptions already exist in Illinois, although the new law extends them to all farm employees -- even those who drive semis.
Relief from the medical card requirement is a third exemption. While this already is available to many farmers, the new law extends the exemption to those who operate combination vehicles, such as a truck and trailer.
A farmer hours-of-service rule exemption will change little from the existing one.
A fifth exemption would be new for farmers. It waives the federal requirements of equipment inspection, repair, and maintenance. But some anticipate that Illinois maintenance laws will fill much of the void created by the federal exemption, Rund said.