Farm Bureau: Bill gives livestock haulers more flexibility

Star Staff
Thursday, May 9, 2019

The recently reintroduced Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (S. 1255) addresses the challenges of transporting livestock by providing some fixes for hours of service regulations and the electronic logging device mandate, according to an American Farm Bureau news release.

The bipartisan measure was introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

“Sen. Sasse’s bill is a step in the right direction to fixing regulations that fail to provide the flexibility needed to address the unique needs that exist in the transport of livestock,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

Current regulations require commercial drivers hauling agricultural commodities to turn on their ELD after they cross a 150-air mile radius of the origin of their load.  After crossing a 150-air mile radius, they must start tracking their onduty time and can only drive 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour rest.

An ELD is not currently required for livestock and insect haulers, thanks to an appropriations rider that prohibits enforcement. Passage of the rider was prompted by lawmakers’ concern that the mandate does not account for the unique needs of the live animals being transported, the news release explained.

“The extended stops required by the HOS regulations are dangerous for livestock, which rely on moving trailers to stay comfortable and reduce their stress,” the release noted.

Under the bill, HOS and ELD requirements would be inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 300 air-miles from the driver’s source. Also the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement would be extended from 11 hours to a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time.

The bill would also exempt loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time; grant flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting it against HOS time; and allow drivers to complete their trip regardless of hours of service requirements if they come within 150 air-miles of their delivery point; and require the driver to take a break for a period that is five hours less than the maximum onduty time, after he completes his delivery and the truck is unloaded.

The Farm Bureau also supports the House version of the measure (H.R. 487), introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), the news release said.