The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it will grant a 90-day waiver of a new hours-of-service rule for truckers hauling livestock and poultry.

Official announcement of the decision was published in the Federal Register on July 11.

As of July 1, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break if more than eight hours have passed since they began service. For drivers hauling livestock, the hours of service would include time loading and unloading animals.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and 13 other livestock, poultry and food groups petitioned the FMCSA for the 90-day waiver from complying with the 30-minute rest break in the new rule.

In their June 19 petition, the organizations also requested a two-year exemption from the rest break requirement, which the agency agreed to consider.

The organizations said the regulation would “cause livestock producers and their drivers irreparable harm, will place the health and welfare of the livestock in their care at risk and will provide no apparent increased benefit to public safety, while forcing the livestock industry and its drivers to choose between the humane handling of animals or complying with a FMCSA regulation requiring a 30-minute rest break.”

NPPC and the other groups also pointed out that the livestock and poultry industries have programs, developed and offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that educate drivers on transportation safety and animal welfare.

Click here to read the Federal Register notice.