Company asks FMCSA to extend, expand HOS exemption

August 26, 2021

Mark Schremmer


A company that produces steel is asking the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to extend and expand its hours-of-service exemption that allows its drivers to work up to 16 hours per day following an off-duty break of at least eight hours.

Cleveland-Cliffs Steel’s exemption request notice was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Aug. 26.

In 2016, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel – previously operating as ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor – received a five-year exemption for its drivers transporting steel coils from one part of the company’s plant in Chicago, Ind., to another.

Noting that the drivers’ set route would cross a minimal amount of public roadways, FMCSA said that the drivers would be exposed to other traffic “for very brief periods” and determined that the company could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to the level achieved without the exemption. That exemption is set to expire Sept. 23.

The company is now asking FMCSA to extend that exemption for another five years and to expand it to include its two “scrap trucks.” It also requests that the exemption reflect the company’s name change to Cleveland-Cliffs Steel.

“Given the nature of our operations, driving is a very small portion of our employee’s workday,” the company stated in its exemption request letter. “In fact, driving these commercial motor vehicles amounts to only 10% of their workday each day. Further, none of these employees works more than 16 hours per day, with 16 hours being the exception and not the rule.”

The company said that it has not had any crashes as a result of the exemption over the past five years.

Addition of scrap trucks

Cleveland-Cliffs Steel wants its scrap truck drivers to be included under the hours-of-service exemption that applies to the steel coil drivers.

“Like the coil transporter drivers, these scrap truck drivers would cross public roadways only at two crossings,” the company wrote. “And driving time makes up only a very small portion of their overall work day. Further, the company would take the same steps to ensure they do not work more than 16 hours a day and that they obtain at least eight hours of off-duty between shifts.”

How to comment

The public has until Sept. 27 to comment on the company’s exemption request. Comments can be made here, or by going to the website and entering Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0050. LL

Lucas Oil

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.