Livestock haulers could get a reprieve from federal hours of service rules under a bill introduced in Congress on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., introduced a bill and found an acronym to go with it as well, the Responsible and Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act.
Under the bill, drivers hauling livestock or perishable commodities could finish their routes if they are within 150 miles of their hauling destination. The bill would exempt agricultural haulers year-round.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation limits a drive to 11 hours of driving time over a 24-hour period. A driver can work up to 14 hours, but driving is limited to 11 hours. Truckers can face state and local fines, as well as fines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Under current law, Snowman can drive his Kenworth from Atlanta, Georgia, to Texarkana, Texas, but Bandit would have to drive the load of beer at least partly back to Atlanta because Snowman would face a mandatory 10-hour break. The TREAD Act still wouldn't quite deal with this Atlanta-Texarkana time-distance conflict that has challenged the trucking industry since it was first raised in May 1977.
A long list of agricultural groups back the bill.
"Farmers and ranchers need safe and humane transportation for the animals and goods they raise. The Craig-Smucker bill promotes both highway safety and animal welfare by ensuring that hours-of-service regulations do not unfairly burden farmers and ranchers or the truckers who help deliver a healthy, affordable food supply," said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. "This legislation strikes the right balance for all involved. We appreciate the leadership of Reps. Craig and Smucker and encourage all members of Congress to support this much-needed regulatory relief."
The bill is also co-sponsored by Reps. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, John Garamendi, D-Calif., Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., and Cindy Axne, D-Iowa.
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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