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Livestock transport rules still unclear

The National Pork Producers Council recently met with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond Martinez, urging his agency to come up with equipment and rules related to interstate trucking that meet the unique needs of the livestock industry.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2015 issued a regulation that all commercial truckers replace their paper driving logs with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) by Dec. 18, 2017. Livestock haulers got a 90-day waiver, which expires March 18, from the ELD mandate because, argued NPPC and other groups, it is incompatible with DOT’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules. Those regulations limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again.

Truckers hauling livestock within a 150-air-mile radius of the location at which the animals were loaded are exempt from the HOS rules, but the exemption is not uniformly recognized and its implementation varies by state. In a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, lawmakers questioned DOT Secretary Elaine Chao about the two regulations and about her agency’s efforts to fix the problem for livestock haulers. The secretary said DOT is working on a solution.

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