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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

FMCSA denies exemptions for drivers traveling with pets

Agency notes lack of evidence provided by business group that safety standards could be ensured if HOS/ELD exemptions were granted for drivers with pets

Federal regulators have denied a request by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) to ease regulations for drivers traveling with their pets.

In a document to be published in the federal register Friday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asserted that after assessing SBTC’s petition and subsequent comments that the agency couldn’t ensure safety levels would be maintained if it were to approve the request.

SBTC had been seeking an exemption from both the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and the hours-of-service (HOS) requirements, asking that drivers with pet companions be allowed to drive up to 13 hours during a work shift and to operate within a 16-hour window, which extends beyond the current driving limits.

“Drivers need to drive slower — rather than race the clock — when animals are on board to prevent injuries, especially when negotiating rough roads, so they need more than the normal hours of service to complete their runs,” SBTC contended in its petition filed earlier this year.

“When drivers have an extended day beyond the 14-hour rule, they can take more breaks, feed, relieve and exercise their pets and reduce the likelihood that they will drive fatigued. This additional two hours will reduce the current trend in large truck occupant fatalities, improve overall safety, which is clearly in the public interest, and save the lives of thousands of animals not currently being included in the large truck occupant fatality statistic by [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]. We suggest animals count too.”

FMCSA acknowledged that close to 80% of the 165 comments favored the exemption. However, in support of its decision to deny SBTC’s request, FMCSA emphasized comments from several groups, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

“FMCSA approval of this application would, in essence, apply an overbroad category of exempted individuals to an insufficiently defined class of exemption,” noted ATA. “Despite some research that shows how domestic animals can improve driver feelings of companionship and, anecdotally, safety, SBTC’s application does not support the agency’s obligation of ensuring an equivalent or greater level of safety than exists under the current regulation.”

According to CVSA, if the agency were to approve SBTC’s request, the additional driving and on-duty time “will expose drivers to a greater risk of fatigue, putting themselves and the public at risk and the ELD exemption would make adherence to the hours-of-service rules much more difficult to verify. The hours-of-service framework is put in place to prevent this type of excessive driving that causes fatigue.”

FMCSA also asserted that SBTC failed to offer countermeasures “to ensure an equivalent or greater level of safety than would be achieved under compliance with the current rules.”

In addition, revisions to the HOS rules that went into effect on Sept. 29 to add more flexibility for drivers did not allow drivers additional driving time beyond the current 11-hour limit or the 14-hour duty day, it stated.

“None of the final rule provisions increases the maximum allowable driving time, as the available data does not support any additional driving time.”

Related articles:

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

33 Comments

  1. Could just give drivers and or companies the option to use either electronic logs or paper logs so drivers can just go back to cooking the books again, it’s unsafe trying to beat the clock, cooking the books eliminated this safety concern, I’d personally rather travel 63-70mph to get there, however, sometimes I find myself hammer down when I really shouldn’t be.

    1. I have rode with different friends and since they went to electronic logs they drive over the speed because they need to get to a certain area before they pull over for the night, they all pee in containers with lids, poop in plastic garbage bags don’t need to tell u where they go. Maybe they need to save them for the politicians homes. All that has happened is they drive faster, don’t have respect for others and they don’t take care of them selves. For people that don’t do their job how dare you say it will be better if we put them on a schedule. They would stop before and stretch their legs and go shopping but that is gone and by the way they even have to eat while driving. You people that put this law in affect need to ride with different over the road truckers for two months and see if you would what to be in their shoes and yes they should be allowed four legged companies and more time to pee them and maybe it would help relieve the stress that you people have put on them and maybe than we would have more considerate truckers again. Sorry to all you truckers that have to sleep on on and off ramps because everything is full up. And for you DOT people when their resting don’t go in and do a walk around on their truck so when they leave their place of rest you can pull them over. Four wheelers you see a truck going to get in a lane so when they turn on their single you speed up or stay right next to them even worse yet get in their blind spot and stay their. Yes the laws need Togo back to paper. THEY NEED A FRIEND to GO WITH THEM!!

  2. I want to stop the practice of carrying a dog in the truck completely,it is cruel and inhumane for the animal,there is no need for an animal to be confined into a 6×6 prison cell,animals were born to be free,if people had any conscience they would stop.

    1. CSI agree animals of any sort should not be allowed in the Cab of trucks for any reason. As any operator realizes people in prison cells have more freedom then theoperator of a truck does because number one the prisoner has his own restroom facilities, which a driver can hardly find a good place to park to use the restroom let alone find a safe place to park for his 10-hour break because there are no adequate truck parking places across the United States. it is ludicrous that they want you to take 10-hour break when there aren’t any places to park that’s what the Federal Motor Carrier Association should be working on finding and making parking places for these trucks we cannot fold them up and put them in our pockets at the end of a 14 hour shift! let’s do something about Safe truck parking and to add insult to injury most of these Rest Stops are closed because of Construction that never gets completed! Lastly, how are you supposed to plan your trip when every state in the freaking country is doing road construction at a snail’s pace. tying traffic up for years but yet you have to get from point A to point B in 11 hours by some miracle. Then some genius county mounty will tell you to plan your trip better. To whom it may concern please do a need a job of finding safe places for truckers to Fox the rig that should be your number one priority since you don’t seem to want to keep the cars in control the passenger cars but you want to reign down hard on trucks that are working hard to supply America!

  3. We need 12 hours driving. In 16hours with at least 8 hous of rest to properly get what we need to get done but our goverqment does not really care about the truck drivers still get bashed on the radio and in public all the time. If I did not have a family I would never drive again and since we did hot get anything from the government like they was supposed to do we still went out and risked our lives from getting this covid 19. I as a driver ended up getting it but I’m fine now lost money from not working those weeks from being in quarantine for three weeks and was very behind on everything I own drivers that actually that ended up with covid 19 should have at a settlement check for at least 25000.00 and the other that did not contract the virus should get 7500.00 dollars but you think the house or the Senate will every do that they can’t even agree on a stimulus check for the people of this country they just want to bail the big companies that have already made their trillions of dollars they are sitting on and wanting more from the government that’s why we the people of of this country struggling to survive and they are sitting back and thriving.they have to much power at there disposal.this needs to change or we will not survive this.

  4. I have a pet in my truck, have for about two years now, it helps moral and mental health wellbeing, driving alone week after week, staring at a line on the road, wondering why everyone has abandoned me in my life because of my job and why my wife and kids are gone wears on me a lot.

    Nobody appreciates us, four wheelers hate us because we are so big and scary and slow, people flip me off, cut me off and usually don’t understand why we do it… Well I’m sorry to educate your ignorant small mind, we have your groceries and your clothing, and you fuel you put in your car, we also haul your Christmas presents and your mail, don’t forget a big truck comes to haul ur trash away too!

    So at the end of the day, when a dog would rather be faithful and more loyal than any woman or even some family members, it brings peace and comfort having someone to talk to, wish he would talk back at times but I guess it’s better he don’t, but knowing at least someone cares about me (knowing he only does it for treats and bacon) it makes the day brighter…

    Hey it also gets some of you fat assess out of the truck and taking walks like you should be doing anyways (friendly joke). My dog loved it at first, now he’s like me, he tolerates it, and loves going home to run the yard, but he knows it pays the bills and we’re gone on some new journey everyday… It’s mutual…

  5. I have a pet in my truck, have for about two years now, it helps moral and mental health wellbeing, driving alone week after week, staring at a line on the road, wondering why everyone has abandoned me in my life because of my job and why my wife and kids are gone wears on me a lot.

    Nobody appreciates us, four wheelers hate us because we are so big and scary and slow, people flip me off, cut me off and usually don’t understand why we do it… Well I’m sorry to educate your ignorant small mind, we have your groceries and your clothing, and you fuel you put in your car, we also haul your Christmas presents and your mail, don’t forget a big truck comes to haul ur trash away too!

    So at the end of the day, when a dog would rather be faithful and more loyal than any woman or even some family members, it brings peace and comfort having someone to talk to, wish he would talk back at times but I guess it’s better he don’t, but knowing at least someone cares about me (knowing he only does it for treats and bacon) it makes the day brighter…

    Hey it also gets some of you fat assess out of the truck and taking walks like you should be doing anyways (friendly joke). My dog loved it at first, now he’s like me, he tolerates it, and loves going home to run the yard, but he knows it pays the bills and we’re gone on some new journey everyday… It’s mutual…

  6. I agree animals of any sort should not be allowed in the Cab of trucks for any reason. As any operator realizes people in prison cells have more freedom then theoperator of a truck does because number one the prisoner has his own restroom facilities, which a driver can hardly find a good place to park to use the restroom let alone find a safe place to park for his 10-hour break because there are no adequate truck parking places across the United States. it is ludicrous that they want you to take 10-hour break when there aren’t any places to park that’s what the Federal Motor Carrier Association should be working on finding and making parking places for these trucks we cannot fold them up and put them in our pockets at the end of a 14 hour shift! let’s do something about Safe truck parking and to add insult to injury most of these Rest Stops are closed because of Construction that never gets completed! Lastly, how are you supposed to plan your trip when every state in the freaking country is doing road construction at a snail’s pace. tying traffic up for years but yet you have to get from point A to point B in 11 hours by some miracle. Then some genius county mounty will tell you to plan your trip better. To whom it may concern please do a need a job of finding safe places for truckers to Fox the rig that should be your number one priority since you don’t seem to want to keep the cars in control the passenger cars but you want to reign down hard on trucks that are working hard to supply America!

  7. Excuses,I traveled 11- yrs with my dog,I trained him for a big truck,I knew it would not be a walk in the park,that’s why it comes down to training,you got trained right?voice command and hand signal’s worked like a dream suffered no problems,I was willing to put in the time to train him some drivers r not willing to this day I watch drivers and their pets some of these drivers I want to do a smack down on,they don’t deserve their pets.

  8. I hate to agree with FMCSA about anything, but that was a stupid request; and fake. I’ve traveled with pet most of my 31 years on the road. Everything in their argument was bogus.