Livestock groups want longer trucking hours

Livestock groups want longer trucking hours
Oct 16, 2018

Organizations petition for 15 hours of daily driving time

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. farm organizations are asking the federal transportation department to change some of its rules regarding hours of service.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Livestock Marketing Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation are petitioning the Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase the amount of time for which truckers can drive.

The American Beekeeping Association, the American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association have also signed the petition.

Current federal regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving time and total on-duty time to 14 hours daily. The ag groups would like to see the drive time increased to 15 hours per day and total on-duty time to 16 hours daily, following 10 consecutive hours off.

Giving livestock haulers four additional hours of driving time will help them make their deliveries on time.

“When livestock and other animals are transported, it’s important to get them to their destination safely and without delay or disruption,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement yesterday. “That is why we are petitioning the DOT to adopt modern fatigue-management practices that provide the same or greater level of safety while avoiding unintended and unnecessary stress on the animals entrusted to our care.”

Truckers appear to be in favor of the potential increase.

“I would love to see it happen,” Robert Palmentera, a livestock hauler with R&S Express in Ashton, Iowa, told today. “An extra four hours would allow us to travel further throughout the day.”

The increased hours would be even better if the weekly limits also increased, he added.

Heavy truck operators can’t drive after 60 hours on duty in seven days or after 70 hours on duty in eight days.

The farm groups don’t appear to be petitioning for increased weekly limits.

Without upping the 60/70-hour rule, increasing the daily limits might become a moot point, Palmentera said.

“I’d like to see the weekly work rule increased too,” he said. “If they don’t do that and you’ve got a driver going 15 hours per day, that basically means they can’t drive after four-and-a-half or five days. It kind of defeats the purpose of the increased daily rules.”

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