The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published an interim final rule last week clarifying the definition of “agricultural commodity” for the purposes of the FMCSA’s “Hours of Service” regulations. The Nov. 24 interim final rule, effective Dec. 9, clarifies the terms “agricultural commodity,” “livestock,” and “non-processed food” to ensure that the Hours of Service exemptions may be utilized as Congress intended.
As a result, fresh-cut and minimally processed fruits and vegetables will be eligible for the agricultural exemptions for truck drivers. Under current regulations, drivers transporting non-processed agricultural commodities are exempt from the Hours of Service requirements if they are traveling less than 150 air miles.
“We appreciate continued efforts to modernize the Hours-of-Service rules to reflect current and future ag transportation needs. These enhancements continue to prioritize safety and allow more efficient operations. NPC continues to press for additional changes that will fully modernize Hours-of-Service,” said RJ Andrus, VP of Government and Legislative Affairs.
The rule clarifies that “non-processed food” includes fruits, vegetables, and cereal and oilseed crops which have been minimally processed by cleaning, cooling, trimming, cutting, shucking, chopping, bagging or packaging to facilitate transport by commercial motor vehicles.