In a major victory for America's livestock producers, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) indicated that it will grant a 90-day waiver of a new hours-of-service rule for drivers transporting livestock and poultry.
The waiver applies to new rules that went into effect July 1 that limit the maximum average workweek 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. For drivers hauling livestock, the hours of service would include time loading and unloading animals.
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 a driver's mandatory 30-minute break, especially in light of long-range weather forecasts for above-normal temperatures for July, August and September 2013.
Additionally, the agency indicated it will be considering a permanent exemption from the rule for drivers transporting livestock and poultry.
The waiver is in effect until Oct. 9.
The Federal Register is available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-11/html/2013-16679.htm.