The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a notification in the Oct 1, 2012, Federal Register that two new exemptions became effective that apply to the operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) for agricultural purposes. The 2012 federal-aid highway statute, 'Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act' (MAP-21), included the two agricultural-related provisions.
Section 32101 (d) of MAP-21 provides a statutory exemption from the hours-of-service regulations for certain carriers transporting agricultural commodities and farm supplies. The FMCSA says the amendment "does not, in and of itself, require any actions by the states, at this time." However, FMCSA is requesting that "states immediately take action to put into place policies and procedures to provide the regulatory relief provided by the statutory language in MAP-21."
Section 32934 of MAP-21 provides a statutory exemption from certain federal motor carrier regulations, including those pertaining to commercial driver's licenses and driver physical qualifications (medical) requirements, for the operation of covered farm vehicles by farm and ranch operators, their employees, and certain other specified individuals under specific circumstances. FMCSA says that "the scope of the exemption in section 32934 is broad and its applicability may be difficult to determine and that it will work with the enforcement community and motor carriers "to provide clarification, as needed, to ensure the statutory exemption is implemented as intended by Congress."
President Barak Obama signed MAP-21 into law on July 6 (Public Law 112-141).