Repeal Sought For Ag Driving Exemption

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) challenges claims made against the hours of service legislation agricultural exemption.

On April 22, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) issued a press release seeking repeal of the hours of service agricultural and utility exemptions. CVSA, an international not-for-profit organization comprised of motor carrier safety officials from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, cited a recently released study by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center that allegedly found agricultural carriers operating exclusively within a 100-mile radius had a 19 percent higher crash rate than agricultural carriers operating outside a 100-mile radius during the period of 2005-2007. The study also allegedly saw utility service motor carrier crash rates jump by 40 percent during this same period.

ARA questions the claims made by CVSA “as it appears to be quite a stretch to connect the hours of service agricultural exemption as the sole cause of a slightly different safety record for the agricultural industry compared with non-agricultural operations,” according to an ARA news release.

The elimination of this critical exemption would make transportation of crop input supplies more difficult during busy times of the year, increase operating costs, and delay getting crops into the ground in a timely manner, says ARA.

The issue will remain a top policy priority for ARA as Congress works to pass a new surface transportation authorization bill before the current authorizations expire on Sept. 30, 2009. The issue will remain a top policy priority for ARA as Congress works to pass a new surface transportation authorization bill before the current authorizations expire on Sept. 30, 2009. To view the CVSA press release, click here. To view the Volpe Study, click here.

(Source: Agricultural Retailers Association)

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