Oct 16, 2018
NPC recommends hours-of-service flexibility for truck drivers

The National Potato Council has recommended changes to the Hours-of-Service regulations for truck drivers that would provide flexibility for agricultural commodities including potatoes. The letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation is in response to the department’s request for comments.

The letter dated Oct. 10 states that “the American Trucking Association already projects that the U.S. marketplace is in a shortage of nearly 35,000 over-the-road, Class 8 tractor-trailer drivers.”

“It is important that a balanced solution for such vulnerable entities be developed to enhance driver safety and also avoid exacerbating a trucking supply shortage via government regulations. The soaring costs of freight rates now common in the industry will have far-reaching impact on future production decisions, as in some cases the trucking cost was greater than the value the goods inside it.”

NPC is encouraging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to expand the agricultural exemption from Hours-of-Service to include the destination of the commodity. Currently, the exemption covers 150 air-miles from the loading point for the commodity.

Earlier this year, FMCSA clarified that packinghouses and similar storage facilities would be considered as the origination point for those loads. Before that clarification, it was uncertain where the exemption would commence. The lack of clarity led to uneven enforcement across the country, according to NPC.

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