The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it is seeking public comment on revising agricultural commodity or livestock definitions in hours-of-service regulations.
The agency has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the effort to provide clarity for the nation’s farmers and commercial drivers.
“The current regulations impose restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Agriculture Secretary. “We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Chao on revising these regulations.”
Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities or livestock are exempt from HOS requirements within a 150-mile radius of the source of the commodities.
An advanced rule authored by FMCSA was prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether HOS exemption applies.
“FMCSA has worked closely with the agriculture industry and USDA in crafting this advanced notice. We have heard concerns from the industry, and we are acting,” said Raymond Martinez, FMCSA Administrator. “We encourage all CMV stakeholders, especially those involved in transporting agricultural commodities and livestock, to provide valuable feedback on how the current definitions impact safety, compliance, and enforcement.”
Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is available here.