This week a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. Senators, including Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, introduced a bill that would provide needed changes to current ELD and hours of service regulation. The bill, known as the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, will:
· Increase the distance transporters must travel before needing to comply with the hours of service (HOS) and ELD rules. The drive time for HOS purposes would not start until after 300-air mile threshold is reached.
· Exempt loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time.
· Extend the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time.
· Grant flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting against HOS time.
· Allow drivers to complete their trip – regardless of HOS requirements – if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires haulers to turn on an electronic logging device in their trucks when they reach a certain point from where they originally picked up their livestock. From that point on, haulers must track their on-duty time before taking a mandatory extended rest period. This extended rest period puts the welfare of livestock at risk and leaves drivers little discretion as to when to take their breaks. The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act addresses these problems by restructuring when haulers must track their hours of service, and gives them more freedom to determine when to rest during their trips.
The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association is pleased with the proposed changes and looks forward to continuing efforts to see this bill across the finish line.
“Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association leaders and members appreciate Senator Smith listening to our concerns regarding animal well-being during transport under current hours of service regulation. We thank her for taking leadership to help correct this issue for our members and livestock haulers,” Said Krist Wollum, MSCA President.
On the state level, MSCA supported a bill carried by Representative Tim Miller that extended the federal 150-mile exemption for agriculture commodities to year-round and extend planting and harvesting period for electronic logging devices to year-round. More information on this bill, which was singed into law, HERE.
A press release from the office of Senator Tina Smith with additional details about the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act can be found HERE.
Posted: May 25, 2018