Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation suspended the requirement that livestock haulers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their trucks. While this is welcome news from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there is still uncertainty for drivers.
Steve Hilker, chairman of the transportation committee for U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and owner of Hilker Trucking said they traveled to D.C. three time in 2018, trying to educate elected officials and FMCSA on why ELD would not work in livestock transportation. Hilker noted they also had to deal with contentions from the American Trucking Association, who initially said they didn’t have a problem with livestock haulers getting exemptions.
“Since then, they have come out and worked against it. I my opinion, it’s more about control, they don’t want anyone getting exemptions because if that group gets one, then who’s next, so then they feel that no one should get them.”
Livestock haulers transport everything from cattle to honey bees and live fish. In May, a bipartisan group of 11 senators led by Nebraska’s Senator Ben Sasse introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act that would help reform federal Hours of Service Regulations for truckers hauling livestock.
“We would like to see that get pushed through, with the new members of the Senate and the House. We had bipartisan support, not enough to get it forced through, what we get up against is we got to get out of the so called barnyard states, we’ve got to get some help from states that aren’t typically livestock producing states, and man, they just don’t understand, the livestock industry or more specifically the transportation of livestock.”
Hilker said, getting people to understand their issues can be difficult, especially on the west coast, where there is misinformation on the safety of livestock transportation. He also noted the current ELD waiver is not much more than a band-aid for livestock haulers.
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