The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted livestock haulers a one-year exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's 30-minute break rule.
DOT posted the notice on its website Friday and sent the notice to the Federal Register for publication.
This issue was raised Thursday at the World Pork Expo. Effectively, DOT wants drivers to take a 30-minute break during an eight-hour shift to cope with fatigue. However, the DOT rule makes no exception for two-person crews. The department wants the trucks stopped and drivers to get a chance to get out of the vehicle.
The livestock industry appealed for common sense on the rule. Such a rule obviously puts livestock more at jeopardy during the summer. DOT granted livestock haulers an exemption last summer to the rule last summer, which DOT noted had "no adverse effects to safety."
Thus, DOT granted another exemption, this time for a full year, at the request the National Pork Producers Council, which had asked for a two-year exemption from the rule last year. NPPC had filed its request on behalf of several livestock and meatpacking groups.
The pork industry rule on hog hauling is to avoid stopping at temperatures greater than 80 F. The cattle industry has similar concerns about animal stress under extreme heat conditions.
The exemption date and expiration next year become formal with the actual posting date in the Federal Register.
DOT statement: http://www.dot.gov/…
Federal Register posting: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/…
Chris Clayton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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