The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) supported revisions to existing federal trucking regulations that allow livestock haulers to comply with the rules while maintaining the pork industry’s high standards for animal welfare in comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last week.
“Animal welfare is our paramount concern. We need regulations that allow livestock haulers to maintain our high standards for animal care,” said Jim Monroe, NPPC senior director of public relations.
NPPC specifically asked DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to change the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which 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 either limit, they must wait 10 hours before driving again.
NPPC also supported expanding the driving-time limit for livestock haulers from 11 hours to 14 hours, and allowing livestock haulers in trucks with sleeper berths to break up the required 10-hour rest period into three separate periods provided that at least one is a minimum of six hours.
In addition, NPPC believes in adding an exemption from the driving-time limit for “adverse driving conditions,” which should be defined to include not only incidences of rain, snow, ice and traffic disruptions, but also excessive temperatures that would stress animals and prevent trucks from stopping.
NPPC asked the transportation agency to streamline the process for restoring “satisfactory” safety ratings for livestock haulers who are otherwise in compliance with the HOS rules’ safety and paperwork requirements.
“Often as a result of caring for animals first, rather than strictly adhering to the HOS regulations, some drivers have had their safety ratings downgraded from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘conditional.’ That has reduced the pool of available drivers and significantly increased barriers for livestock haulers to remain in business,” said Michael Formica, NPPC assistant vice president, domestic affairs and counsel.
As the DOT adopts rules specific to the unique requirements of livestock haulers, NPPC asked that DOT establish a simple process to allow these drivers to have their satisfactory ratings restored (satisfactory is the highest rating).
NPPC Supports Federal Trucking Rule Revisions For Livestock Haulers