OMB begins review of FMCSA proposal on hours-of-service rules for agricultural commodities
Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 17 submitted for review to the White House Office of Management and Budget an advance notice of proposed rulemaking intended to help the agency assess whether to clarify the definitions of “agricultural commodity” or “livestock” in FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.
Currently, federal regulations offer an HOS exemption for drivers who transport livestock and other agricultural commodities within a radius of 150 air miles.
“This ANPRM is prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies,” states a monthly Department of Transportation regulatory update released in May.
In 49 CFR Part 395.2, FMCSA defines “agricultural commodity” as “any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber or livestock.” In June 2018, FMCSA issued guidance intended to clarify the agricultural commodities exemption and the “personal conveyance” provision in driver HOS regulations.
Initially scheduled for publication March 18, as listed in the regulatory agenda, the proposed rule’s publication was delayed until May 13, a target date that has also been pushed back and has yet to be determined.
Speaking in a May 21 video posted on the TruckerNation.org Facebook page, organization spokesperson Andrea Marks referenced a recent meeting between officials at FMCSA and TruckerNation.org that acknowledged the intricacies of the issue.
“We actually had a pretty candid conversation with FMCSA about … moving forward with this, and the agency was actually really forthcoming in stating that this is really a complex issue,” Marks said. “It’s not just making a new definition or using an established definition, maybe that [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] uses or … DOT uses, because this definition is specifically related to using a very specific exemption and has to be very specific as a result.”