FMCSA’s move to redefine ‘ag commodities’ for HOS regs proceeds

Updated Jun 29, 2019
Just Another day on the farm
Uploaded by : Mike Mcevers
1995 Pete hauling that high dollar wheat

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s potential rulemaking to define which drivers are allowed to run under hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture commodities has been approved by  the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, paving the way for its publication by FMCSA.

The “pre-rule,” also known as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, won’t offer any specific reforms. Rather, it’s a solicitation for comments from industry stakeholders about the definition of an agricultural commodity, according to the ANPRM’s excerpt in the federal rulemaking docket.

Once published in the Federal Register, the ANPRM will be open for public comments.

Drivers hauling ag commodities operate under certain hours of service exemptions, such as the 150-air-mile radius exemption that allows drivers carrying ag commodities to skip recording duty status if they stay within a 150-air-mile radius of the source of the commodity, among others.

Currently, the agency defines ag commodities as “any agricultural commodity, nonprocessed food, feed, fiber, or livestock,” but that definition could change should the agency proceed with the rulemaking process after it solicits feedback with the ANPRM.

The agency’s pre-rule related to defining ag haulers is separate from, and in addition to, the agency’s looming proposal to overhaul hours of service regulations for the entirety of the industry. That proposal has also been filed to the OMB and is still awaiting approval.

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