FMCSA denies Flat Top Transport’s exemption request

February 21, 2023

SJ Munoz


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied an hours-of-service exemption request by Flat Top Transport LLC.

The denial is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Feb. 22. It states that “supply chain issues alone … do not provide a sufficient basis to exempt motor carriers transporting dry bulk food-grade products from (hours-of-service) regulations.”

Holland, Mich.-based Flat Top Transport was seeking a four-month exemption from 49 CFR Part 395. The company said the request was to provide immediate and emergency delivery of dry and bulk food-grade products to locations that supply stores and distribution centers nationally.

“The products being delivered are under strict time constraints and the number of available trucks is limited,” Flat Top Transport wrote in the exemption request. “Due to railroads being limited and a truck driver shortage, the inflation rates of parts and services, the time constraints of hours of service are causing many food-producing (factories) to shut down until the products arrive.”

Flat Top Transport is a small trucking company with around 10 drivers delivering products such as food-grade flour, corn meal, and salts used to produce cereals, baked goods, canned goods and meat processing, according to the request.

Of the 11 comments FMCSA received during the public comment period, a majority were in favor of the exemption application.

“There needs to be exemption for all fleets operating under 30 trucks,” Remmel Transport LLC commented.

In its opposition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance commented, “Supply chain delays do not constitute an emergency situation that would necessitate temporary relief from hours-of-service regulations.”

FMCSA said it continues to monitor unique challenges motor carriers and drivers experience while transporting freight and work to ensure that safety is not compromised.

“Flat Top offered no basis on which FMCSA could conclude that granting an exemption from the HOS regulations would provide an equivalent level of safety,” FMCSA wrote in its decision to deny the exemption. LL

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