Back in late November 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced they had extended the waiver for commercial truckers from the Federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulation until Feb. 28, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the FMCSA included livestock haulers in an initial emergency declaration that provided an exemption from the HOS regulation for commercial truckers hauling essential supplies.
Those in the livestock industry have been working with Congress to make this more of a permanent move. This week during an interview with AgNet Media, we asked U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg what his office was doing to help make this happen.
The current HOS rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods.
A provision in the infrastructure bill that was signed into law last year expanded the miles agricultural truckers can drive without the HOS restrictions. Drivers hauling livestock already were exempt from the HOS rule for the first 150 air miles of their runs. Now they also will be exempt from HOS rules for the final 150 air miles from their final destination, providing additional flexibility to ensure drivers can safely complete their deliveries while protecting other drivers and ensuring the welfare of the animals in their care.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.