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Fischer Continues Pushing FMCSA for More Hours of Service Flexibility, Again Raises Concerns of Ag and Livestock Haulers | Rural Radio Network

Fischer Continues Pushing FMCSA for More Hours of Service Flexibility, Again Raises Concerns of Ag and Livestock Haulers

Fischer Continues Pushing FMCSA for More Hours of Service Flexibility, Again Raises Concerns of Ag and Livestock Haulers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) joined a group of bipartisan senators, led by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), in a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Raymond Martinez. The letter expresses support for greater flexibility within hours of service (HOS) regulations and highlights concerns from agriculture and livestock haulers about these requirements.

The senators wrote: “It is our hope that, under your leadership, FMCSA will be able to improve regulations and address issues within HOS regulations for all drivers, including long-haul drivers, short-haul drivers, agricultural and livestock haulers.  We suggest FMCSA examine a wide range of options to address HOS issues and ensure safety, including, but not limited to, providing certain allowances for unique businesses or driver operations, elimination of unnecessary requirements, or improved utilization of non-driving time.”  

This letter builds on Senator Fischer’s work to lower regulatory burdens at the FMCSA while maintaining safety that go as far back as 2015 when she included reforms in the FAST Act to increase transparency and strengthen cost-benefit analysis for rulemakings at the agency.

Most recently, Senator Fischer raised the concerns Nebraska agriculture and livestock haulers have with these federal requirements with leadership at FMCSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Following two letters Senator Fischer sent to FMCSA and DOT leadership last year, FMCSA announced it would clarify its guidance on HOS exemptions for ag and livestock haulers.

In February, Senator Fischer convened a meeting with Nebraska agriculture representatives and the then-Acting FMCSA Administrator. Following the meeting, the agency extended the temporary waiver from the electronic logging device (ELD) requirement for ag and livestock haulers while it continued reviewing its guidance. Additionally, Senator Fischer worked to ensure an extension of the ELD waiver for livestock haulers the through September 30, 2018, was signed into law in March.

Fischer is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The full text of the senators’ letter to Administrator Martinez is below.

May 17, 2018

 

The Honorable Raymond Martinez

Administrator

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue Southeast

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Administrator Martinez:

 

We write to express our support for greater flexibility within hours of service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers, which maintain or increase the safety on our nation’s roadways.  Specifically, we urge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to explore improvements to the HOS regulations that ensure drivers across differing businesses and operations can safely and efficiently comply with such requirements.

 

In recent months, it has become more apparent that HOS rules do not provide the appropriate level of flexibility for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.  The trucking industry provides for over three million jobs in the U.S. and is the backbone of our economy, ensuring our nation’s goods get to market.  It is important that HOS regulations provide for a commonsense framework for drivers, rather than a one-size-fits-all model.

 

It is our hope that, under your leadership, FMCSA will be able to improve regulations and address issues within HOS regulations for all drivers, including long-haul drivers, short-haul drivers, agricultural and livestock haulers.  We suggest FMCSA examine a wide range of options to address HOS issues and ensure safety, including, but not limited to, providing certain allowances for unique businesses or driver operations, elimination of unnecessary requirements, or improved utilization of non-driving time.   

 

We appreciate your consideration on this important issue and look forward to working with you on how best to uphold safety and provide needed flexibility for drivers.

           

Click here to read a PDF of the letter.

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