HAULS Act for ag haulers reintroduced in U.S. Senate

March 23, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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A bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety Act, which would expand hours-of-service exemptions for ag haulers.

The HAULS Act, S792, was introduced last week by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; and Tina Smith, D-Minn. A similar bill was introduced during the previous congressional session.

Specifically, the HAULS Act would:

  • Eliminate the requirement that ag and livestock hours-of-service exemptions only apply during state-designated planting and harvesting seasons.
  • Amend and clarify the definition of “agricultural commodities” based on feedback provided by agriculture and livestock organizations.
  • Authorize a 150 air-mile exemption from hours-of-service requirements on the destination side of a haul for ag and livestock haulers.

“Nebraska’s ag and livestock haulers provide a critical service transporting food and fuel across the nation,” Fischer said in a news release. “However, certain federal regulations fail to account for the unique circumstances involved in moving their products. The HAULS Act builds on my previous work to help our haulers transport their critical goods safely and efficiently.”

‘You can’t just pull over’

Fischer and Tester were both vocal about their support of the HAULS Act during Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing in January.

Both lawmakers stressed to Buttigieg that livestock haulers can’t just stop with a load of cattle just because their time ran out.

“People have to understand that if you have a pot load of cattle or hogs that you can’t just pull over to the side of the road,” Tester said. “If you do, it’s going to overheat, and they’re going to die.”

Buttigieg said he understood that all regulations can’t be one-size-fits all.

“Sometimes our policies can’t tell the difference between live animals and other kinds of cargo,” he said. “That’s something I’m eager to look into and work with you on.” LL

Truckstop.com

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.