Legislation was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, as well as the House of Representatives, that would help ease some of the regulatory burdens that livestock haulers are required to adhere to. The proposed bills are in response to a U.S. Department of Transportation rule requiring all truck drivers to adhere to Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules monitored by electronic logging devices (ELDs).
In the Senate, the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act was introduced by Senators Ben Sasse and Jon Tester and was supported by 16 other senators. The bill would increase the exempt air miles from 150 to 300 and would increase the driving time from 11 hours to at least 15 hours, and no more than 18 hours. Drivers would receive greater flexibility for rest when needed, which would not count against HOS time. The bill would also allow drivers within 150 air miles of their destination to continue their delivery regardless of HOS.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Representative Greg Pence also recently introduced legislation to reform the regulatory standards for livestock haulers. H.R. 2460, the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act. The legislation was introduced as a companion bill to the one put forth in the Senate back in February. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill appear similar, with a purpose of creating a working group to further evaluate regulatory and legislative improvements that could be made related to the transport of livestock and other agricultural commodities.
The cattle industry has been especially vocal in expressing concern regarding the ELD mandate, noting that the hauling of live animals was not adequately considered when formulating the rules. “We applaud Congress for working every angle to come up with solutions that would allow for the safe and efficient movement of cattle throughout the country. New regulations, imposed in 2017, do not work for the livestock transportation industry,” Steve Hilker, United States Cattlemen’s Association Transportation Committee Chairman said in a statement.