Last week, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its long-awaited proposal to increase flexibility for truckers by revising the rules around the amount of time they can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives.

Changes sought by the National Pork Producers Council, among other groups, was additional flexibility for livestock, bee, and fish haulers who encounter unexpected, adverse driving conditions and the ability to divide the mandatory, 10 hours of rest into separate segments.

The FMCSA proposal does both: It addresses the challenge of adverse weather by expanding not just the driving time, but also the overall on-duty time for drivers to finish their delivery. The proposed rule also allows truckers to split up their 10-hour mandatory rest period into two periods (one being at least 7 hours long), and creates an option for drivers to take an extended break between 30 minutes and 3 hours, which pauses their on-duty clock. This will allow drivers the option of resting when tired while providing greater flexibility for completing deliveries and maintaining high animal welfare standards. It will also help drivers better manage their schedules when waiting, either to unload a delivery or at a truck wash station.

NPPC says, the Trump administration’s proposal is a smart, common-sense approach to maintain highway safety and provides much-needed options for drivers to comply with Hours of Service rules in a variety of situations that allow them to safely and humanely transport the animals in their care. NPPC thanks the Trump administration for their continued efforts to balance safety and the need for flexibility, and we look forward to continuing to work them to finalize these important changes.

The FMCSA’s proposed amendments for HOS are in the Federal Register and the comment period is open until October 7th, 2019.

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NPPC

Northern Ag Network

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