The following may be attributed to Andrew Walmsley, director, congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation:
“The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today released an important proposal that recognizes the difficulties inherent in moving farm commodities and livestock, alike.
“We are grateful for this first step to consider options for flexibility in hours-of-service rules. Farm Bureau will continue to work with our partners in industry, FMCSA and Congress to find long-term solutions that address the unique needs of transporting agricultural products, the hauling of live animals in particular. It is imperative that we seek solutions that account not just for motorist safety, but the health and welfare of animals being transported, as well.”
Background: FMCSA is seeking public comment on revising current Hours of Service regulations, which limit the hours drivers may be on the road. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will seek input on four specific areas of HOS.
The four main 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, to bring consistency to 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; and
• 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.
The comment period will be open for 30 days.