Responding to concerns over animal welfare, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) this week granted livestock truckers a limited 90-day waiver from a rest-break provision included in new hours-of-service rules.
The new rules, which took effect on July 1, require drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift, while also reducing the maximum average workweek for drivers from 82 hours to 70 hours.
FMCSA announced the new rules, which intend to improve safety, back in December 2011, allowing trucking companies and drivers time to adjust their schedules. According to the agency, only the most extreme schedules will be impacted, and more than 85 percent of the truck driving workforce will see no changes. FMCSA estimates the new regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.