WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators announced that it introduced the Hauler of Agriculture and Livestock Safety (HAULS) Act, which would give livestock haulers more flexibility in delivery.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

Current rules allow for 11 hours of drive time, 14 hours of on-duty time, and a required 10 consecutive hours of rest. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), lauded the senators’ efforts and said further flexibility was needed for transporting livestock beyond the current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.

NCBA said unlike truck drivers moving consumer goods, livestock haulers cannot idle or unload their trucks when drive time hours run out because they are carrying cattle.

“NCBA has long advocated against one-size-fits-all regulations for the live haul sector, and the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need for flexibility when it comes to livestock hauling,” said Allison Rivera, executive director of government affairs for NCBA. “The HAULS Act represents the best long-term solution — a permanent change to existing hours-of-service regulations that preserves animal welfare as well as safety on our roads, while also making sure producers can keep our grocery stores stocked with beef.”

Details from the HAULS Act said that a 150-mile exemption would be added under HOS requirements to the backend of hauls for this transporting livestock or agricultural commodities. Also, the legislation eliminates the seasonal harvest requirements for the agriculture HOS exemption. This makes the HOS exemption available year-round in all states.

“NCBA has successfully fought every month for a renewed emergency declaration which provides an exemption from hours-of-service for livestock haulers, while also working with Congress to maintain the ELD delay for livestock haulers until Sept. 30, 2021,” the association added.