Transportation: Petition posted, comment period open
TO: NCBA Officers, Executive Committee, and State & Breed Affiliates
FROM: Allison Rivera – DC Office
DATE: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
As of this morning, the petition (which the agency prefers we reference as a request for temporary exemption) submitted by NCBA, AFBF, and LMA to the FMCSA for livestock haulers to achieve additional drive time upon the completion of certain training/documentary requirements has been posted for public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/06/2019-01276/hours-of-service-of-drivers-national-cattlemens-beef-association-livestock-marketing-association.
The comment period is scheduled to close on 3/8/19. We will not be seeking any extensions as we want this process to be expedited. We have been told that the comment period will not be extended or put on hold in the case of another government shutdown, unless the website used for submissions has any issues. They will contact us if this is the case.
To remind you of the details within the petition, it is attached along with a summary document.
I strongly encourage everyone to submit comments. Although we do want a large volume of comments, unique and well drafted comments mean a great deal to FMCSA aswell. I can provide helpful comments within the next week or so for you to tweak to give specific examples from your state and your producers, but there are also helpful talking points below.
Again, official comments in support from each state affiliate are requested, as well as comments from individual members. Even if member/producer/trucker comments are very simple and merely voice their concerns with the current situation and their vote of confidence in the request, that is helpful.
Please also reach out to Hill offices who have been supportive on this issue, and encourage them to submit comments in support of the request. The letters that have already been sent from the hill in support of the petition when it was dropped will be submitted into the system by DOT. They have reassured us of that.
Please let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to help. As requested by many members, below is a step by step on how to submit comments. This should prove helpful for individual members to submit their comments as well as state affiliates.
Directions on how to comment:
• Click “Comment Now!” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen in a blue box
• Type comments into the field. Comments are limited to 5,000 characters. If you anticipate needing more room, write your comments in a Word document, save it to your computer, and then attach it to the comment using the “Choose files” box.
• The category you should select from the drop-down category section is “public comments.”
• Click continue in the blue box in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen in a blue arrow.
• Check the “I read and understand the statement above” box
• Click “submit comment”
What you might want to include in comments:
The best comments are those that are professional, concise, and personal to the submitter. Begin by identifying yourself and your role in the livestock industry and how live animal transportation impacts you and your business. Then, clearly explain your support of the request for more drive time.
Some key points to include:
• How far livestock must travel from the ranch to the market and from the market to their next destination in your part of the country. Although many of those trips can be completed in the 11 hours allotted under current law, there are several trips that cannot be made in 11 hours.
• Although more drive time would be appreciated, the 4 extra hours asked for in the petition is very helpful to lots of markets, producers, and truckers.
• As the petition states, by completing extra training and conducting trip planning activities, livestock haulers can drive this extra time in a safe way.
• This request is focused on providing flexibility to a small, well-defined, specific group of livestock haulers, not a broad cross-section of the entire trucking industry.
• Livestock haulers have a great track record of safety, which is supported by data cited in the petition.
• Livestock haulers are unique to the commercial motor vehicle industry – they haul live animals.
• Give any examples of increased economic hardship your business will face if this flexibility is not granted.
Thank you, Allison
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Center for Public Policy