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Trucking | Fatigue | Hours of service

Livestock transporters request permanent rest-break exemption

August 12, 2013

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Washington – A group of organizations representing livestock transporters has requested a permanent exemption from the 30-minute rest-break requirement in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service regulations, citing animal safety concerns.

The rest-break requirement, which went into effect July 1, requires drivers to stop their vehicles and rest for 30 minutes during their workday to reduce fatigue. On July 11, FMCSA granted livestock transporters a temporary 90-day waiver from the requirement after the group argued that exposing animals to summer heat while a truck is stopped would negatively impact the animals’ welfare.

The group’s current request would grant livestock transporters – other than those with “conditional” or “unsatisfactory” FMCSA safety ratings – a permanent exemption, which the group argues would not adversely affect public safety and also would reduce the impact of cold weather on the animals. According to an FMCSA notice published Aug. 12, the exemption would not affect drivers already exempt from the rest-break requirement, such as short-haul drivers and those operating certain agriculture vehicles during planting and harvesting seasons.

Comments on the exemption request are due Sept. 11.