Trucking Mandates

NPPC’s Position

NPPC supports the bipartisan Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, which would establish a Department of Transportation working group to deliver, within one year, an action plan for reforms that support the safe, humane transportation of agricultural commodities, including pigs.

NPPC supports rules that:

  • Expand driving time for livestock haulers to the entire 14-hour on-duty period
  • Provide flexibility for adverse conditions, including excessive heat and cold, encountered while livestock is in transit
  • Allow livestock haulers to split their 10-hour rest period into three separate periods, including one with at least six hours of uninterrupted rest
  • Streamline efforts for livestock haulers to restore their safety rating

Background

Livestock haulers daily transport millions of animals, and such drivers are responsible for the well-being and safety of those animals, as well as the safety of other drivers on the road. Safety is one of the pork industry’s top priorities. Because livestock, such as pigs, are vulnerable to health issues triggered by temperature changes, long-established industry standards prohibit drivers from stopping while hauling animals.

As part of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act mandated that drivers of commercial motor vehicles replace their paper logs with Electronic Logging Devices, which record driving time and monitor engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information, reporting the data electronically to federal and state inspectors. ELDs are designed to ensure compliance with strict limits on federal Hours of Service (HOS) that livestock haulers can operate. Under current rules, a livestock hauler may only drive 11 hours in a day and work a maximum of 14 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour rest break.

In many cases, the inflexibility of the HOS rules make them incompatible with livestock hauling. Further, the ELDs currently on the market can’t be used in conjunction with federal exemptions that have been developed for agriculture, including livestock haulers. As a result, for many routes, drivers will be forced to choose between arbitrary Department of Transportation (DOT) HOS limits and the well-being of animals in their care.

Currently, as part of the federal response to COVID-19 challenges, livestock and feed grain haulers are operating under a broad waiver from the HOS rules. However, this doesn’t provide permanent relief. For livestock haulers, DOT also has provided an exemption from the HOS rules for transit within 150 air-miles from the farm where the animals were loaded and, as of March 2022, transit within 150 air-miles from their destination. While some states recognize the exemption all year, others only honor it for a few months, even though livestock are in transit and harvested year-round. This creates an unworkable patchwork of conflicting state transportation standards for livestock haulers.

Fast Facts

11 hours

is the maximum amount of time commercial vehicle operators may drive in a day.

14 hours

is the maximum amount of time drivers may be on duty in 24-hour period.

10 hours

is how long drivers who reach the on-duty limit must wait before driving again.

Livestock like hogs and pigs

are vulnerable to health issues and death when drivers stop for extended breaks when hauling animals.

Related Resources

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