WASHINGTON D.C. — New legislation aims to protect haulers of horses and other livestock from the implication of new regulations that were imposed on the commercial trucking industry at the end of 2017.

Under the new rules, commercial truck drivers — which include many that haul horses — have to have an electronic logging device which tracks how long they are driving. Once they have reached a certain time limit they have to stop for a specified rest period. Livestock haulers argue that it’s not feasible to simply stop driving when the cargo is live animals especially during the cold of the winter and heat of  the summer. The American Horse Council and other agricultural industry groups have been lobbying to get exceptions for haulers of live animals.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agreed to two temporary waivers from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. The latest extension was to expire on June 18 but a congressional delay has extended it through Sept. 30.

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Currently, for livestock and insects, HOS rules require that haulers 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, haulers must start tracking their on-duty time and can only drive 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour rest time. 

On May 23, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska introduced the ‘‘Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.”

In bill, the Secretary of Transportation would amend the federal regulations to ensure that a driver transporting livestock or insects within a 300 air-mile radius from the point at which the driver begins the trip would exclude all time spent:

  1. at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper or on any public property during which the driver is waiting to be dispatched;
  2. loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle;
  3. supervising or assisting in the loading or unloading of a commercial motor vehicle;
  4. attending to a commercial motor vehicle while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded;
  5. remaining in readiness to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and
  6. giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded;

Also, the driving time would be modified to a maximum of not less than 15, and not more than 18, hours within a 24-hour period, wherein the driver may take one or more rest periods during the trip, which would not be included in the calculation of the driving time. After completion of the trip, the driver would be required to take a rest break for a period that is five hours less than the total driving time (10 hour rest for a 15 hour trip).

Finally, if the driver is within 150 air-miles of the point of delivery, any additional driving to that point of delivery shall not be included in the calculation of the driving time; and the 10-hour rest period that currently exists shall not apply prior to unloading.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The American Horse Council is continuing to work to limit unnecessary regulatory burden on the horse industry while encouraging legislation that protects the health, welfare and safety of America’s horses and drivers.

For more information on what the new rules mean for horse haulers see horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/

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