Agriculture Hours of Service
Hours of service regulations limit the amount of time and distance that commercial motor vehicle operators may drive. The exemption is essential to the fertilizer industry’s ability to provide the crop nutrients farmers need at the right time throughout the busy spring and fall seasons.
The hours of service exemption for agriculture, which was originally established at TFI’s request in 1995, allows agricultural carriers, including fertilizer transporters, to be exempt from hours of service regulations when operating in a 100-air mile radius of their central base operation during planting and harvest seasons.
In May 2009, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico, formally urged members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to repeal the driver hours-of-service exemptions for agriculture and utility drivers and adopt a proposal that any segment of the trucking industry that has previously received a safety exemption, whether by regulation or statute, be required to re-apply for such exemption through the regulatory process.
Following CVSA’s efforts to repeal the agricultural hours of service exemption, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended its interpretation of the hours of service exemption in early 2010 to apply only to agricultural products being transported from an agricultural retailer directly to a farm. TFI, along with other agricultural trade associations, disputed the interpretation and began working with the Department of Transportation.
In October, following months of advocacy efforts by TFI and other agricultural groups, Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to clarify the applicability of the agricultural hours of service exemption. TFI is supportive of the legislation and is monitoring its progress in Congress.
- TFI supports surface transportation policies, such as the agricultural hours of service exemption, which grant the fertilizer industry the ability to deliver vital crop nutrients to farmers during the busy planting and harvest seasons.