LINCOLN — Nebraska Cattlemen welcomes and thanks Senator Ben Sasse for reintroducing bipartisan legislation to ensure federal hours of service (HOS) regulations are flexible and workable for hauling livestock.
Nebraska Cattlemen worked extensively with Senator Sasse to identify solutions to HOS regulations in the wake of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s electronic logging device (ELD) enforcement date.
The pending ELD mandate has exposed incompatibilities between federal HOS regulations and the livestock industry. Current federal law limits haulers to a maximum driving time of 11 consecutive hours in a 14 hour on duty window. This is not enough drive time to support the inherent dynamics of a centrally-located state like Nebraska that receives feeder cattle from locations well over 11 hours away.
Most importantly, HOS regulations pose significant animal welfare concerns. Once a driver hits the maximum hour allotment, he or she must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours before returning to duty. Stopping the vehicle for an extended period of time, particularly during summer months when high temperatures and humidity pose dire risks for cattle, is simply not an option.
“Nebraska plays an integral role in the beef production chain given our abundance of natural resources and prime infrastructure. We are the top state for beef slaughter capacity, second for cattle on feed, and fourth for beef cows calved. One size fits all federal regulations endanger the health and welfare of livestock shipped in and out of Nebraska daily by failing to account for the intricacies involved with hauling live animals. This legislation provides needed flexibility for livestock haulers, continues our strong record of road safety, and helps facilitate longer hauls that are inherent to cattle production in our state,” said Mike Drinnin, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.
Senator Sasse’s Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act would change federal law to accomplish the following:
- HOS and ELD requirements would be inapplicable until after a driver travels more than 300-air miles from their source. Drive time for HOS purposes does not start until after the 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.
- Ensures that, 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).
Senator Sasse was joined by a coalition of bipartisan senators in introducing this legislation, including Senators Fischer (R-NE), Cramer (R-ND), Risch (R-ID), Daines (R-MT), Rubio (R-FL), Tester (D-MT), Smith (D-MN), Crapo (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Moran (R-KS), Jones (D-AL), Hoeven (R-ND), Rounds (R-SD), Braun (R-IN), Enzi (R-WY), Ernst (R-IA), and Lankford (R-OK).
— Nebraska Cattlemen
For more news from Nebraska, click here.