Wisconsin Agri-Business Association supports trucking rule changes

The Wisconsin Agribusiness Association is lobbying for changes to laws regulating trucking.  Executive Director Tom Bressner tells Brownfield they would like to see changes in the federal Department of Transportation rule regulating hours of service for drivers.  Bressner says their organization supports an exemption to the rule for both animal and commodity haulers within 150 miles. He says, “If you’re doing ag and hauling a load of soybeans to a mill, and you get out and wait your turn to dump and then you re-weigh and pick up a load of soybean meal to go back, it’s not like you’ve been behind the wheel for a long period of time.”

Bressner says the rules should take into consideration that short-run drivers already get more breaks from driving. “Agriculture, doing these shorter hauls and having breaks while you’re doing the haul, it makes sense that there ought to be a little bit of leniency to some of the rules versus an over-the-road driver that’s hauling long distance.” Federal rules restrict drivers to 11 hours of driving time and a total of 14 hours on-duty after 10 hours off duty.

At the state level, Bressner says changing weight limits for trucks would save money and reduce wear and tear on roads. “Weight limits in the State of Wisconsin would be five axles and 80,000 pounds. There is a bill that has been introduced that would allow (trucks) to go to six axles and 91,000 pounds, which does not increase any safety issues or stopping issues.”

Bressner says the trucks would be heavier, but the additional axle would put fewer pounds per square inch on pavement and would improve stopping ability for improved safety.

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