New Trucking Bill introduced into the U.S. Congress

A new bill to tackle U.S. trucking regulations was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on January 10th, 2020. The bill, titled the “Freedom from Regulating Edible Supplies and Horticulture (FRESH) trucking act is sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL). This bill is similar to H.R. 1673 and S. 2025, which have already been introduced in the House and Senate. One notable difference in this bill for sod producers though is that it explicitly includes the term “sod” in the its language in regard to perishable agricultural commodities. The full language of the proposed bill can be found below as well as a link too Rep. Steube’s web page. TPI will continue to work on this issue impacting sod haulers to make sure that our members are included in future hours of service regulations and amendments, so be sure to watch our website and Industry Harvest e-newsletters for more information. As always, please reach out to us if you have questions or are able to help with any of these bills in your area.

 

Modification of Hours of Service Regulations

Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall amend part 395 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to establish that, with respect to a motor carrier or driver transporting any agricultural, horticultural, or floricultural commodity (including both fresh and processed products, as well as sod and other agricultural products sensitive to temperature and climate and at the risk of perishing in transit)—

About the Author

Casey Reynolds, PhD
Dr. Casey Reynolds is the Executive Director at Turfgrass Producers International

2 thoughts on “New Trucking Bill introduced into the U.S. Congress

  1. Matthew Rafacz - March 24, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Hi,
    I know talks in Orlando focused on the HOS and Electric Tracker Device aspect of this. I believe in a session, Dr Casey Reynolds said the agriculture designation theoretically applies to all DOT exemptions. From what I could find online, these exemption (below) are hinging on the agriculture designation, assuming that the trucks are within 150 air miles of the farm. Does this list look right?

    We were still drug testing our drivers, but our farm bureau stopped the program last year and another company said that the law changed a number of years ago such that we are exempt from drug testing (as long as we had agriculture plates and were within 150 miles).

    A “covered farm vehicle” (CFV) and its operator are exempt from the following:
    • Part 382 (Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing)
    • Part 383 (Commercial Driver’s License Standards; Requirements and Penalties)
    • Part 391 (Subpart E – Physical Qualifications and Examinations)
    • Part 395 (Hours of Service of Drivers)
    • Part 396 (Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance)

    Reply
    • Casey Reynolds, PhD - March 31, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      Hey Matthew, I can chat with you offline about this if you want to give me a call. I’m sending you a separate email with that number. In short, yes, if the DOT does not recognize sod as agriculture then you cannot qualify for covered farm vehicle exemptions because hauling an ag commodity is a requirement within the covered farm vehicle definition.

      Reply

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