WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations – today joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act. This legislation would give American agriculture the flexibility it needs to safely transport livestock and bring much-needed relief from the current burdensome trucking regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In December 2017, Sen. Moran led a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for a delay of the implementation of these regulations.
“In Kansas, our economy depends upon the ability of farmers and ranchers to sell the goods they produce across the state, nation and world,” said Sen. Moran. “This bipartisan legislation provides a long-term solution that will give livestock haulers flexibility to get safely to their destinations without causing unnecessary stress to the animals being transported. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense measure that will make transportation easier on livestock and haulers and ranchers alike.”
Starting December 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required commercial vehicle drivers to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their truck. The ELD will track driver compliance with the Hours of Service (HOS) rules by connecting to the engine to log vehicle motion. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Moran helped to secure language delaying the ELD mandate for livestock haulers in the fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill as a long-term solution continues to be sought on HOS rules. The FMCSA also exempted livestock haulers from the ELD requirement until further review of a petition filed by the livestock industry.
For livestock, live fish and insects, HOS rules require that haulers turn on their ELD after they cross a 150-air mile radius of the origin of their load (such as cattle). After crossing a 150-air mile radius, haulers must start tracking their on-duty time and can only drive 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour rest time.
The inflexibility of these regulations will be costly for haulers – who have a proven safety record – and place the well-being and welfare of cattle, hogs and other livestock at risk. Current law does not allow flexibility for livestock and insects to reach their destination, given the vast geography of production and processing facilities, most often spanning from coastal states to the Midwest. Extended stops for a hauler, which would be necessitated by these HOS regulations, are especially dangerous for livestock during summer or winter months, as high humidity and winter temperatures with below-freezing wind chills cause significant stress on livestock.
The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act addresses these problems and eases the burden of these far-reaching HOS and ELD regulations for haulers of livestock or insects.
The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act would:
- Provide that HOS and ELD requirements are inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 300-air miles from their source. Drive time for HOS purposes does not start until after 300-air mile threshold;
- Exempt loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time;
- Extend the HOS on-duty time maximum hour requirement from 11 hours to a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 18 hours of on-duty time;
- Grant flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting against HOS time;
- Allow drivers to complete their trip – regardless of HOS requirements – if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point; and
- Make certain that, after the driver completes their delivery and the truck is unloaded, the driver will take a break for a period that is five hours less than the maximum on-duty time (10 hours if a 15-hour drive time).
The Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act is authored by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).
Items to note:
- On December 5, 2017, Sen. Moran led a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for a delay of the implementation of ELDs for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock, which resulted in delay language being included in the FY2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related (THUD) Appropriations Act.
- On May 24, 2018, Sen. Moran cosponsored the original version of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.
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