Responding to concerns raised by a coalition of animal agriculture associations, including the National Chicken Council, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a limited 90-day waiver delaying implementation of the required 30-minute rest break following 8 hours on duty. The 30-minute rest period is part of the new Federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulation that took effect on July 1, 2013.
The new HOS regulation limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours, and requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift. Several associations representing various segments of the livestock industry raised concerns about the risks to the health of animals from rising temperatures inside livestock trucks during drivers’ mandatory 30-minute break, especially in light of long-range weather forecasts for above-normal temperatures for July, August, and September.
The industry requested relief, and the agency determined that it was appropriate to grant a limited 90-day waiver for this period to ensure the well-being of the nation’s livestock during interstate transportation.
The FMCSA continues to review the coalition’s request for a permanent exemption from the 30-minute rule for transporters of live animals. The Federal Register notice is available here.
The industry’s letter requesting relief is available here.