Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation and other agriculture organizations are requesting a five-year exemption from Hours of Service requirements for livestock haulers. Andrew Walmsley, AFBF congressional relations director, says the safety measures for truck drivers need to consider the uniqueness of hauling livestock.
Walmsley: The current Hours of Service rules don’t really take into account the unique needs of our livestock haulers on the flexibility that Congress has granted over the years, but also the need to really take into account the animal care that’s entrusted for our members and for truck drivers.
Clements: A petition sent to the Department of Transportation by AFBF and others seeks extended drive time and hours on duty for livestock haulers.
Walmsley: Currently, drivers can operate 14 hours on duty, 11 hours of drive time. What we’re seeking in our petition is 15 hours of drive time, when needed, with 16 hours on duty. You can’t pull off and shut down for 10 hours like the current rules require, especially in high temperatures, high humidities, and expect those animals to come through unscathed.
Clements: The petition includes increased fatigue management training to ensure safety.
Walmsley: Everybody’s safety is paramount, but we’re also trying to take a common-sense approach that we have the necessary flexibility to make sure those animals aren’t unduly stressed. We do this also to make sure that consumers continue to expect a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. You start being constrained in moving animals from different parts of this county, you’re going to have an impact all the way down to the consumer and what that does to retail protein prices.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.