The American Trucking Associations’ Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference (AFTC) recently released the “Manager’s Guide to Safe Trucking During Agricultural Planting and Harvest Season.”

The guide provides educational resources for truck drivers and their managers in the agricultural industry, encouraging active strategies to improve safety during peak times of production.

“Promoting safety is important in all agricultural operations but especially critical in the case of truck driving,” said Russell Laird, ATA’s Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference executive director. “Our members are glad to share their expertise and best practices with the whole agricultural industry to give them practical strategies they can implement to help improve safety.”

The guide focuses on active strategies for hiring decisions, communicating with drivers, and monitoring and managing fatigue.

Generally, truck drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 driving hours per day under federal law, which are recorded in a log book that must be presented to a law enforcement officer upon request. However, during planting and harvest seasons, exemptions to these rules are given to motor carriers hauling agricultural products in certain parts of the country.

“Agricultural seasons often do not comply with exact schedules,” said Laird. “Weather determines when and how fast you move, so farmers need work flexibility to get their crops in and out of the fields.”

Protecting the agricultural exemption for motor carriers is critical to crop production around the country. If eliminated, transportation for agriculture would become more difficult, more costly, and perhaps less safe. Imposing hours of service restrictions during planting and harvest seasons could force the use of more temporary and possibly less-experienced drivers. The measures outlined in the Manager’s Guide can help the agricultural industry maintain the flexibility that is essential while achieving the safety results all desire.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.