Loading bees for transport from South Carolina to Maine to pollinate blueberries. Photo by Pollinator via Wikimedia Commons

Loading bees for transport from South Carolina to Maine to pollinate blueberries. Photo by Pollinator via Wikimedia Commons

California beekeepers are looking for relief from the 30-minute break provision of the hours of service rule.

Sitting in a warm trailer for 30 minutes without a flow of fresh air is dangerous for bees, the California Farm Bureau Federation told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“The risk of harm to the bees would be significant, and possibly fatal,” the agency says in its notice about the petition. The notice is scheduled for publication in Thursday’s Federal Register.

The agency said it is considering the petition on behalf of all bee carriers, not just those based in California.

Bees are vital to pollination of many crops, including almonds, apples, lettuce and berries. But bee colonies have been declining and now bees must be transported by truck to farms to provide pollination.

The hours of service rule requires drivers to take a 30-minute break within eight hours of their last off-duty or sleeper berth period. The exemption would allow bee drivers to work without the break.

FMCSA last summer granted a similar exemption for livestock haulers.

The agency will be accepting comments on the petition for the next month.

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