The petition has asked for a five-year exemption from certain requirements for livestock haulers. Under Hours of Service (HOS) requirements, current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14.
The organisations have requested that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.
“We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips,” the organisations wrote.
The current requirements “place the well-being of livestock at risk during transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, particularly in rural communities across the country”.
The petition was signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association.
“Livestock haulers are highly-trained professionals who take careful steps to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Through this petition, we hope to work with DOT to build on our industry’s strong safety record and provide haulers with some additional relief from overly-restrictive HOS requirements,” said Kevin Kester, fifth-generation California rancher and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Tom Frey, Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) president and owner of the Creston Livestock Auction of Creston, Iowa said: “Livestock auction markets are particularly impacted by livestock transportation. Animals are hauled into and out of markets every day. It is one of LMA’s primary goals that such movement be accomplished in a safe manner for livestock and motorists alike. We feel this petition is yet another step towards necessary flexibilities for our haulers while taking proactive measures to preserve safety.”