The federal administration has denied a petition by a business group for extension of the hours of service and electronic logging rules that apply to truck drivers travelling with their pets.
The group, Small Business Transportation Coalition, had submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In the petition, the group requested exemptions for truck drivers from two of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandates, including the mandate for electronic logging devices on all trucks as well as the Hours of Service requirements.
According to the petition, drivers travelling with pets should be exempted from the Hours of Service requirements and be permitted to drive for up to 13 hours during their shift. That would be beyond the current truck driving limits imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. According to the petition, truck drivers benefit from travelling with their pet companions, as this helps relieve boredom and loneliness during long journeys. Longer driving hours would actually help these drivers drive slower, because of the various activities like feeding and walking that they would have to perform in connection with the care of their pets. According to the petition, these drivers would, therefore, need more than the normal hours in order to complete their shifts.
However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not agree. The agency has denied the group’s petition. In denying the petition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration used data as well as inputs from other trucking and safety groups, including the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as well as the American Trucking Associations. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did acknowledge that travelling with a pet can provide valuable companionship for the truck driver, eliminate feelings of loneliness and boredom, and overall make for a more comfortable travelling experience for the truck driver, the agency was of the view that the petition did not take into consideration the fact that a permit for greater number of driving hours only places truck drivers as well as other people on the road in danger. The agency said that permitting greater work hours would only increase the risk of fatigue for truck drivers, endangering not just the truck drivers, but also motorists sharing the highways with these drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s stand on this issue has been noteworthy and commendable. Increasing hours of service for truck drivers with pet companions only exposes to fatigue these drivers who are already tired from their long journeys.
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