The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely (TLAAS) Act, saying it would reform federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules in a way that ensures animal welfare, highway safety, and the well-being of livestock haulers.
The bill was introduced today by U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“The current Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers present big challenges for our industry and can often jeopardize the health and well-being of livestock,” said NCBA President and fifth-generation California rancher Kevin Kester.
“Hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling products like paper towels or bottles of water. Live cattle can’t simply be left unattended in a trailer – especially in very hot or cold weather – for extended periods of time, and this bill takes that into account. Senator Sasse deserves a lot of credit for his leadership on this issue, and we thank all of the original cosponsors who stepped up to show their support for livestock haulers and cattle producers across this country.”
Livestock haulers are scheduled to have to start using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track their driving times and distances on Oct. 1, 2018. Under current rules, they would be required to turn on their ELDs after crossing out of the 150-air-mile radius from their loading point, after which they can only drive for 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10-hour break.
The TLAAS Act takes into full consideration the fact that there are living and breathing animals on the trailer that must be kept moving, and that they must get to their destination as quickly and as safely as possible.
This bill provides for more drive time for livestock haulers, as well as granting the flexibility for drivers to rest at any point during the trip without the break counting against HOS time. This bill also allows for another 150 air mile exemption on the back end of a livestock haul to account for the wait time that occurs when unloading live animals.
“Given the unique nature of livestock hauling – often very long distances between cow-calf operations and feedlots or processing facilities – and the fact that we’re transporting live animals that must be treated humanely – this legislation is vitally important and I think it strikes a balance coupled with common sense for everybody involved,” Kester added. “I hope Congress will pass this bill as quickly as possible so we can have this issue resolved before the ELD mandate for livestock haulers goes into effect on Oct.1.”
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