A pre-rule that could affect the hours-of-service regulations for haulers of agricultural commodities has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.
According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the ag haulers pre-rule was received on May 17 and is pending review.
“FMCSA seeks comment to assist in determining whether, and if so to what extent, the Agency should revise or otherwise clarify the definitions of ‘agricultural commodity’ or ‘livestock’ in the hours-of-service regulations,” the abstract of the advance notice of proposed rulemaking stated in a Department of Transportation report on upcoming rulemakings.
Under current regulations, agricultural and livestock haulers are exempt from hours-of-service requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source.
“This advance notice of proposed rulemaking is prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the hours-of-service exemption applies,” FMCSA wrote in the abstract.
The ag haulers pre-rule was originally scheduled to publish on March 18 but was delayed.
Another proposal regarding hours of service was sent to the OMB in March and is scheduled to publish on June 7. However, the DOT’s monthly report suggesting a June 7 publication date is not set in stone. As the livestock rule shows, it is common for scheduling suggested in monthly reports to change depending on how fast proposed rules and final rules clear OMB.
Recent legislation has also been introduced that would provide relief from hours-of-service regulations to livestock haulers. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, or SB1255, on April 30. Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., introduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act, or HR2460, on May 1.
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