NCBA secures extension of critical exemption for livestock haulers

On Aug. 31, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced an extension of the exemption from hours-of-service requirements for livestock haulers.

Livestock haulers continue to need this flexibility for the well-being of livestock during hauls, and to keep grocery stores stocked with beef during the continued disruption of COVID-19. This extension comes after consistent advocacy by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Thanks in part to NCBA’s continued push on this issue, livestock haulers have been operating under an HOS exemption since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining a strong safety record.

"We are grateful to FMCSA for the extension of this exemption, which will provide livestock haulers continued flexibilities under hours-of-service regulations. I believe FMCSA’s continuation of this exemption indicates their confidence in our producers to keep doing their work safely and effectively, while keeping the grocery store shelves stocked with beef. NCBA will continue to work toward additional, more permanent flexibility under HOS, and we appreciate FMCSA’s open dialogue on this issue," said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera.

The most recent extension will continue through midnight on Nov. 30.

Current HOS rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and then require 10 consecutive hours of rest. When transporting livestock, there is a real need for further flexibility beyond the current hours-of-service. Unlike drivers moving consumer goods, livestock haulers cannot simply idle or unload their trucks when drive time hours run out without jeopardizing animal health and welfare.