The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a one-year exemption for the Hours-of-Service 30-minute break rule for individuals hauling livestock.
The rule, which went into effect July 1, 2013, required drivers to take a 30-minute break during an eight-hour shift in an effort to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
In summer 2013, DOT granted a 90-day exemption to the 30-minute break requirement after the livestock industry raised concerns holding animals longer than necessary in trailers during hot summer weather. DOT noted the short-term exemption in 2013 had “no adverse effects to safety.”
Bob McCan, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, welcomed the announcement but said NCBA will continue pushing to make the exemption permanent.
“As we come into summer, cattle producers have expressed concerns to the DOT that these rules would jeopardize the health and safety of our cattle,” McCan said. “This exemption is a common-sense move that keeps our herds and our nation’s highways safe.”
The National Pork Producers Council has also been active on this issue, and NPPC President Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Iowa, said this is especially important for pigs since they do not produce sweat to keep them cool during the summer.
“We recognize the need for our drivers to be safe on the road, and we’re pleased that DOT recognized that the rule presented an animal welfare issue for us,” Hill said.
The exemption will be effective immediately on the date it is published in the Federal Register and will expire one year later.
By Mary Soukup