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FMCSA Clarifies Ag Exemptions for Horse and Livestock Haulers
3 mins read

March 2, 2018 – Horse and livestock haulers got some good news last week when the FMCSA published updates to their agricultural exemptions. These updates clarified the hours of service and CDL requirements for those who transport live animals – whether as a hobby or for profit. These revisions came just a few weeks before the ELD exemption for agricultural haulers is set to expire.

The big news, is that you won’t be required to follow federal hours of service regulations or hold a CDL if you’re transporting horses or animals to shows, events or for another personal reason. In other words, if the transportation is not part of a business, the FMCSA considers you exempt. The same goes for the private transport of boats, cars and similar items:

“In these cases, when the transportation in question is not business related (neither for compensation, nor where the driver is engaged in an underlying business related to the move), none of the regulatory requirements apply, even if prize or scholarship money is offered.”

While this has technically always been the case, questions have arisen lately that had many in the industry unsure what their legal requirements were – and whether they suddenly should start logging their hours. This confusion extended to enforcement officials, some of whom began issuing warnings and fines to private haulers for hours of service and CDL violations, often to the surprise of drivers who had been able to operate independently of federal regulations in the past.

It’s important to remember, however, that just because the federal DOT doesn’t require you to hold a CDL, doesn’t mean your state will allow you to operate without one. It’s always a good idea to check with your state’s licensing agency to ensure you’re operating compliantly.

Updates for Commercial Drivers

Many of the updates made last week were for the non-commercial transport of horses and livestock. However, there was a waiver given to commercial drivers, as well. In response to industry concerns over animal welfare, the 30-minute break requirement will be waived when live animals or bees are on the vehicle.

If you’d like to read more about the FMCSA’s agricultural exemptions, you’ll find them here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/agricultural-exceptions-and-exemptions-federal-motor-carrier-safety

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