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BREAKING: Temporary Hours of Service Exemption for Livestock Haulers

March 18, 2020


Jennifer Shike


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has exempted livestock haulers from compliance with federal Hours of Service rules that limit drive time until at least April 12 due to the COVID-19 emergency relief effort.


Drivers wishing to haul under this exemption are suggested to print out and keep in their cab a copy of the Expanded Emergency Declaration, according to the Livestock Market Association (LMA).


The Expanded Emergency Declaration provides relief to those drivers hauling “food” and “immediate precursor raw materials… that are required and to be used for the manufacture of … food.”


LMA received official interpretation from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation that all livestock movement fits these exemption definitions. However, when the driver returns to their “normal reporting location,” the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty to rest.


“LMA applauds the FMCSA's expansion of the Emergency Declaration to include livestock haulers. This flexibility will allow our drivers the necessary time to get livestock to and from farms, livestock auction markets and packing plants to facilitate the re-stocking of America's meat cases,” says Jara Settles, LMA General Counsel. “LMA continues to advocate for livestock auction markets and the entire supply chain as critical infrastructure during these challenging times.”


FMCSA’s expanded declaration provides relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:


•    Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19

•    Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants

•    Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores

•    Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items

•    Fuel

•    Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine

•    Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes

•    Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services


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