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Feds Waive Mandatory 30-Minute Break Period for Drivers Hauling Livestock

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced they are granting a limited one year exemption from the mandatory 30-minute rest period in the hours-of-service regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting livestock, including horses.

Last July, the American Horse Council supported the FMCSA decision to give a 90-day exemption for the 30-minute rest period for drivers of commercial vehicles hauling livestock in order to minimize the potential of rising temperatures inside the trailers that could harm the animals. Before this exemption, drivers were required by law to take a 30-minute break for every eight hours of service.

Due to the success of the 90-day exemption in 2013, the FMCSA had sufficient experience to provide a one-year exemption. The hours-of-service exemption is specifically for drivers transporting livestock as defined in the Emergency Feed Assistance Act of 1988, which includes horses. Under current regulations, this will only affect drivers moving horses commercially. Hours-of-service exemptions already exist for those occasionally transporting their own horses within a 150 mile radius of home and not crossing a state or international boundary.

The AHC supports the FMCSA’s decision to put the health and welfare of the horse in the hands of the driver during transport to assure that it arrives at its destination safe and well.

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