DOT Ready to Bend Its Hours of Service Rule for Livestock Haulers, Thanks to LMA NegotiationsWed, 21 Nov 2018 10:25:21 CST
Jara Settles is General Counsel for the Livestock Marketing Association. She has been involved with the LMA’s most recent legislative efforts including its work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the United States Department of Transportation’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate and more specifically, its Hours of Service Rule. During a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, she talked about how restrictive and burdensome these regulations will be on livestock haulers if fully implemented and what the LMA has been doing to alleviate that impending pressure for its stakeholders.
“Anybody that raises livestock, sells it or eats it should be concerned about it honestly,” Settles remarked. “The ELD Mandate has gone into effect for all other haulers in the country other than the livestock haulers. That is very much part and parcel to the work of some of our Congressional champions that have allowed us to ‘pump the breaks’ (so to speak) on the ELD Mandate.”
At this point, Settles says the Mandate has been paused for this fiscal year in regard to livestock haulers. The current appropriations bill being considered right now by the House and Senate has language included that if passed, would extend the exemption for livestock haulers even longer. Settles says she is cautiously optimistic of that happening given the feel of the current situation. Essentially, the ELD itself, is just a device that collects information. While some people see it as being somewhat reminiscent of a tool that “Big Brother” might use, Settles says the main issue with it is the cost component - relatively quite pricey to purchase. The real concern, though, is not the ELD Mandate, but rather the Hours of Service Rule which would limit haulers drive time. This is particularly tricky when you consider the fact that livestock haulers are transporting live animals that by any humane standards, can’t and shouldn’t be expected to remain loaded on a trailer for more time than what is absolutely necessary. This argument has resonated with lawmakers and through negotiations with LMA and its industry partners have arrived at a solution they think everyone will agree on.
“The most reasonable solution that the LMA and some of our key industry partners has reached is to request just four additional hours of drive time. Four hours isn’t a ton, but it helps our drivers,” she said. “In exchange for those hours, it would only be the safest drivers allowed to use that exemption. They would require extra training with fatigue management and they’d have to have extra documentation. So, it’s give a little, get a little.”
Listen to Settles and Hays discuss the work being done by the LMA to alleviate the burden of new DOT regulations on livestock haulers and the progress that has been made, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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