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Thursday, July 11, 2013

FMCSA Grants Limited 90-Day Waiver to HOS Rest Break Requirements for Livestock Haulers

FMCSA today issued a 90-day waiver for livestock haulers (including poultry) from the 30-minute mandatory rest break. ATA's Agricultural and Food Transporter Conference and other members of the livestock community met with FMCSA in late May to request the waiver. Subsequently, AFTC & Co. sent the attached letter requesting an immediate waiver, as well as a permanent exemption, for those hauling livestock. The coalition also urged Agriculture Dept Secretary Tom Vilsack to contact DOT and FMCSA to request the waiver be granted.

AFTC is very pleased to see the waiver issued, as temperatures around the nation have already reached record highs. The details for comment on the permanent exemption have not yet been released, but will be sent out when available.

To access the official waiver, please follow the link in the FMCSA message below.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a limited, 90-day waiver from the 30-minute rest break provision of the Federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for the transportation of livestock, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 1471(2).  Several associations representing various segments of the livestock industry raised concerns about the risks to the health of animals from rising temperatures inside livestock trucks during drivers' mandatory 30-minute break, especially in light of long-range weather forecasts for above-normal temperatures for July, August and September 2013.  The industry requested relief, and the Agency has determined that it is appropriate to grant a limited 90-day waiver for this period to ensure the well-being of the Nation's livestock during interstate transportation.  The Agency has determined that the waiver, based on the terms and conditions imposed, would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.  This waiver preempts inconsistent State and local requirements.

Click here to see the DOT HOS Final Letter

Terms and Conditions

The waiver from the 30-minute break provision is for drivers transporting livestock as defined in the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988, as amended (the 1988 Act) [7 U.S.C. § 1471(2)].  The term "livestock" as used in this waiver means "cattle, elk, reindeer, bison, horses, deer, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary of Agriculture that are part of a foundation herd (including dairy producing cattle) or offspring, or are purchased as part of a normal operation and not to obtain additional benefits under [the 1988 Act]."  The waiver is further limited to motor carriers that have a "satisfactory" safety rating or are "unrated;" motor carriers with "conditional" or "unsatisfactory" safety ratings are prohibited from utilizing this waiver. 

A link to the waiver notice is below:

Finally, the several associations requesting the waiver have also filed an exemption request from the 30-minute break requirement.  The Agency plans to request public comment on this request in the days ahead and we will be sure to update you when that request goes out.

For more information see the info below and attached or contact AFTC Executive Director Jon Samson at

John F. Lynch
Vice President, Federation Relations &
Intergovernmental Affairs
American Trucking Associations
430 First Street, SE
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 478-6835
(703) 402-1851 mobile
(202) 675-6568 fax

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