The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration took a step in the right direction this week regarding livestock hauling. The FMCSA is seeking public comment on revising four specific areas of current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.
The upcoming Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), which will be published in the Federal Register, responds to widespread Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns and seeks feedback from the public to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads. The comment period will be open for 30 days.
The four specific areas under consideration for revision are:
- Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers.
- Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
- Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving.
- Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.
In addition, the ANPRM seeks public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules (1) pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and (2) pertaining to the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).
Allison Rivera, Executive Director of Government Affairs for NCBA, released the following statement in response to the announcement:
“We are grateful for FMCSA’s willingness to consider options for flexibility on Hours of Service rules. NCBA will continue to work constructively to find a long-term solution that gives livestock haulers the flexibility they need within Hours of Service to protect the welfare of animals in their care. The proposals released today are a positive step towards focusing on needed changes to Hours of Service, but more specific changes that address the unique realities of the livestock hauling industry are still needed. We will continue to work with FMCSA to provide flexibility for the livestock hauling industry.”