Trucking Group Seeks Relief from ELDs for Truckers With Pets and Service Animals
Washington D.C. – A trucking group has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide regulatory relief for truckers who travel with animals.
Last week, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) filed a Request for Exemption (RFE) on behalf of truckers with pets and service animals asking the FMCSA to provide “humane” relief from the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate.
Instead, the SBTC is asking that these drivers be allowed to track their hours of service (HOS) with paper record of duty status logs.
“This latest exemption is predicated on the fact that livestock haulers have been granted a statutory exemption and do not have to comply with ELDs,” SBTC president, James Lamb, explained to Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “We believe encouraging more frequent breaks to allow drivers’ pets to urinate and exercise more frequently is both the humane action for FMCSA to take and the right thing to do by public safety.”
Further, the RFE asks the Agency to give drivers the flexibility to extend their HOS daily driving time up to 13 hours and their total on duty time to 16 hours each day.
“We also cite FMCSA’s rule that drivers can drive an extra two hours whenever they are faced with ‘adverse driving conditions’ to find safe harbor. SBTC contends the same logic applies. If it is safe to drive an extra two hours so drivers can slow down and not race the clock when faced with snow and ice on the road, then it logically follows that it is safe for drivers with pets to slow down on rough roads to protect the health safety and welfare of their passenger pet companions without sacrificing productivity,” Lamb asserted.
Lamb is confident animal rights groups will support this effort after learning more about the issue.
“We believe animal rights groups will join this battle when they hear how dogs and other domesticated animals are afforded a mere 30 minute break out of 11 hours because of the severe pressures exerted on company drivers by dispatchers and on independent owner operators by brokers and shippers focused heavily on productivity and meeting rigid time schedules,” he stated.
The RFE was submitted on March 2, 2020.
The Agency now must make a determination on the RFE within 180 days to be in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
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Petition Collects 2,000 Signatures (So Far)
In conjunction with the filing of its RFE, the SBTC also launched a petition asking the public to show support for the cause.
The petition reads in part:
Like the National Pork Producers Council successfully argued to Congress, we, too, believe the current HOS regulations and the ELD mandate pose threats to — and endanger the health and welfare of — these animals transported daily. Drivers that have such animals on board have the added responsibility of tending to their animals’ health, safety and wellness needs in addition to looking out for public safety. They need extra flexibility to be able to reconcile all of these demands and interests… much like FMCSA tries to balance all stakeholders’ interests when promulgating rules.
So far, the petition has collected more than 2,000 signatures.
Click HERE if you’d like to add your name to the list.
Photos courtesy of Greg Anderson/Joe Denney
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