A bipartisan group of Senators have sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to push for greater flexibility in the Hours of Service regulations for commercial drivers hauling agricultural products. The existing waiver of Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers is set to expire at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30th.
The letter was signed by Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and South Dakota Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds.
The letter said that the unique circumstance involved in transporting perishable goods or live animals warrant additional flexibility both for the safety of drivers and the animals being transported. The letter states, “It is important that Hours of Service regulations provide for a commonsense framework for drivers, rather than a one-size-fits-all model.”
Senator Jon Tester commented on the letter saying, “Folks hauling livestock and ag products need the flexibility to get their products to market quickly for the safety of other drivers and for the animals and goods they’re transporting. A one-size-fits-all approach from Washington DC just doesn’t cut it, and I’m going to keep pushing to get this issue fixed so our truckers can do their jobs.”
The Ag industry has battled against the Hours of Service rules and the Electronic Logging Devince Mandate for 3 years now. Each year, Congress passes an extension of the waivers for agricultural haulers and the can is kicked down the road. But at this point, no long-term solution has been found.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauded the step the Senators took this week. NCBA Government Affairs Director Allison Rivera says, “Hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling typical consumer goods, and we continue to look for flexibilities within Hours of Service to safely haul livestock around this country.”
“Now more than ever, we can see how vitally important it is for haulers to have the flexibility they need to get live and perishable goods to market as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Rivera. “As we look toward an infrastructure package, we are grateful for the continued support on Hours of Service flexibilities.”
Northern Ag Network