Overdrive Magazine

April 2019

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38 | Overdrive | April 2019 O ne trucking niche that's been in the news since the onset of the electronic logging device mandate has been live- stock hauling. Because of the sensitivity of their freight, whose health can be jeopardized by hours-long stops, livestock haulers have repeatedly been granted ELD exemptions. "Animal welfare is our big talking point that separates us from other people," says Allison Rivera, executive director of govern- ment affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "You can't compare hauling toilet paper to hauling live animals." Livestock haulers have to run hard and often sacrifice personal convenience to get their freight safely to its destination. They often risk personal injury, such as getting kicked by a cow or stung by bees. Despite those challenges, livestock haulers say it's a rewarding field because of the pride they take in their jobs and the respon- sibility they embrace in caring for the live freight. Being a more specialized field, its compensation is usually equal to or higher than other applications. Its specialization has stood out most noticeably in recent months due to the ELD exemptions Congress has pro- vided. The most current one runs at least through Sept. 30, allowing livestock haulers to continue to use paper logs to record duty status. Efforts have been undertaken in recent years to alter hours of service regulations for livestock haulers – and then attempt to bring the segment into com- pliance with the ELD mandate – as a long-term fix. One request, filed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in February, asks for a 16-hour on-duty period with a 15-hour drive-time window after an off- duty period of 10 consecutive hours. A bill introduced in January in the House would allow drivers hauling livestock and insects expanded hours limits if they stay within a 300-air-mile radius of the source of their loads. A bill filed in the Senate in March would require FMCSA to establish a committee to recommend ways to reshape hours regulations and ELD requirements for those hauling livestock and agricultural commodities. HAULING CATTLE Cattle make up the biggest population of livestock being moved, says Jara Settles, a vice president for the Livestock Marketing Association. There are fat cattle, feed cattle, calves and other types, each of which can require differ- ent handling. Even the background of the cattle can affect how they behave, says Texas-based owner-operator Zach Beadle, who drives a 1976 Peterbilt cabover. He's been hauling cattle as an independent since 1989. Some cattle ranchers "don't go visit their livestock much," Beadle says. "They just turn them out and let them be wild. Well, when they round them up, they are as wild as the West Texas land." Cattle also can require sen- sitivity on the part of their transporters when the move is from one temperature extreme to another. CARING FOR CARGO The same considerations behind the ELD exemptions also raise the standard for what it takes to operate successfully in livestock hauling. BY DEANNE WINSLETT Pig hauler Pamela Cox drives this 2016 Peterbilt 389, named "Pinkie" because of its exterior and breast cancer awareness decals. She pulls a 2018 Wilson livestock trailer.

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