Livestock Haulers' Hours of Service Petition Submitted for Comment


Wyatt Bechtel, FarmJournal's Pork

February 6, 2019


A petition has been submitted by a group of organizations representing livestock haulers and producers who would be impacted by ongoing hours of service rules.


The joint petition was filed on Feb. 6 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, and National Aquaculture Association. The groups sent the petition to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on behalf of livestock haulers to seek more flexibility in the hours of service regulation.


The same petition was submitted by the group on Oct. 15, 2018. Because of the government shutdown and a back log of other requests, it took a longer than expected time for the petition to be officially filed for public comment.


According to LMA, there is a 60 day comment period for the petition that will end on March 8, 2019. Comments can be submitted on the federal government’s website.


The petition seeks a five year exemption on particular hours of service requirements.


The petition says, “We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips. In certain circumstances, livestock haulers are required to carry live animals over significant distances. Those circumstances are dictated by factors primarily and properly related to: the health and welfare of the livestock; the lifecycle of the livestock; and the locations of farms and ranches, viable grazing lands and feedlots, and final processing facilities. Therefore, the maximum driving and on-duty limits of the HOS rules as applied to livestock haulers’ operations may place the well-being of livestock at risk during transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, particularly in rural communities across the country.”


Under current DOT rules the drive time limit is 11 hours and there is a 14 hour on-duty limit. The organizations would like to see drivers have up to 15 hours of drive time and 16 hour on-duty period, following a 10 hour consecutive rest period. To drive at the extended time livestock haulers would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.


There are a number of areas outlined in the 27 page petition including:


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