On Wednesday, a Nebraska senator introduced a new bill that would ease “overly strict trucking” regulations for drivers hauling livestock.
The bill was introduced by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and is called the “Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act.” Prominent Florida Senator Marco Rubio has also elected to support the bill, in addition to Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
Here’s what the bill would do to change current regulations for livestock or insect haulers:
- Provides 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.
- Exempts loading and unloading times from the HOS calculation of driving time.
- Extends 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.
- Grants flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during their trip without counting against HOS time.
- Allows drivers to complete their trip – regardless of HOS requirements – if they come within 150-air miles of their delivery point.
- After the driver completes their delivery and the truck is unloaded, the driver will take a break for a period that is 5 hours less than the maximum on-duty time (10 hours if a 15-hour drive time).
Sasse says that he introduced the bill in part out of concern for the welfare of the animals being transported: “Our ranchers and haulers are professionals who make the well-being of livestock their top priority and that includes safe transportation. The Department of Transportation’s current regulations endanger livestock during hot summers and cold winters — which Nebraskans know well — causing significant stress on the animals and concern for the drivers. This bipartisan bill is good for our ranchers, good for our haulers, and good for our livestock.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and U.S. Cattlemen’s Association both support the bill.
ELD regulations have been waived for livestock haulers through September 30, 2018.