Thursday, July 11, 2013

DOT Grants Waiver for Livestock Haulers

On July 8, 2013, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted livestock haulers a 90-day waiver (78 Fed. Reg. 41716 (July 11, 2013)) from the rest-break provision in the new hours-of-service rules (76 Fed. Reg. 81134 (December 27, 2011)). The rules, which seek to improve safety, were announced in December 2011 and took effect July 1, 2013. Under the rules, all drivers are limited to a seventy hour work week and must take a thirty minute rest break for every eight hours of service. On June 19, 2013, the National Pork Producers Council, along with thirteen other livestock organizations, requested a 90-day waiver from the rest break provision. The request stressed that the rest break provision put the health and welfare of livestock at risk because drivers would be unable to care for livestock during the required break.

In granting the waiver the FMCSA noted it was necessary to “ensure the well-being of the Nation’s livestock during interstate transportation” as higher than average temperatures are predicted in the coming months. Under the waiver, carriers transporting livestock, as defined by 7 U.S.C. 1471(2), will not be required to take a thirty minute break. The waiver is limited to carriers with a satisfactory or unrated safety rating. The FMCSA determined carriers with a conditional or unsatisfactory rating will be required to take a thirty minute break because those ratings “indicate that the carrier has safety management control problems.” The waiver is set to become effective July 11, 2013 and will expire on October 9, 2013.

For more information on the new hours-of-service rules and 90-day waiver, please see FMCSA’s website.  

Written by Clara E. Conklin - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
July 11, 2013

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