The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released its long-awaited proposal to increase flexibility for truckers by revising the rules around the amount of time they can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives.
Among the changes sought by the National Pork Producers Council is additional flexibility for livestock haulers who encounter unexpected, adverse driving conditions and the ability to divide the mandatory, 10 hours of rest into separate segments. The FMCSA proposal does both: It addresses the challenge of adverse weather by expanding not just the driving time, but also the overall on-duty time for drivers to finish their delivery.
The proposed rule also allows truckers to split up their 10-hour mandatory rest period into two periods (one being at least seven hours long), and creates an option for drivers to take an extended break between 30 minutes and three hours, which pauses their on-duty clock. This will allow drivers the option of resting when tired while providing greater flexibility for completing deliveries and maintaining high animal welfare standards. It will also help drivers better manage their schedules when waiting, either to unload a delivery or at a truck wash station.
The Trump administration’s proposal is a smart, common-sense approach to maintain highway safety and provides much-needed options for drivers to comply with Hours of Service rules in a variety of situations that allow them to safely and humanely transport the animals in their care. The NPPC thanks the Trump administration for their continued efforts to balance safety and the need for flexibility, and we look forward to continuing to work them to finalize these important changes.
Comments will be due within 45 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, expected on Aug. 20.