FMCSA grants more HOS exemptions, considers another for animal haulers

February 5, 2019

Greg Grisolano


A pair of hours-of-service exemption requests are scheduled to appear on the Federal Register this week.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for public comment on a proposal to allow drivers who haul livestock, insects and aquatic animals to extend their driving time beyond 11 hours.

The agency also will grant a petition it received last fall that will provide hours-of-service relief for concrete pavement haulers. The notices are scheduled to publish Wednesday, Feb. 5 in The Federal Register.

The applicants request approval to, after 10 consecutive hours off duty: drive through the 16th consecutive hour after coming on duty; and drive a total of 15 hours during that 16-hour period. The requests are made on behalf of drivers who transport livestock, insects and aquatic animals. FMCSA requests public comment on the joint applicants’ request for exemption.

A joint application for the request was signed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association.

An existing hours-of-service exemption already gives livestock haulers a 150 air-mile radius before the clock starts. The joint proposal requests that the 15- and 16-hour limits would begin after a livestock hauler travels outside the 150 air-mile radius. The exemptions would apply to all livestock, insect, and aquatic animal transporters and their drivers.

The request states that an exemption is necessary for the health and safety of the animals being transported on trips that can’t be completed within the normal 11- or 14-hour rules. They claim an estimated 25 to 30 percent of livestock-hauling trips would be conducted under this exemption.

The request also notes that drivers would still be expected to comply with all other hours of service rules, including the 60/70 hour limits. They say a driver operating under the proposed exemption could reach the 60-hour on-duty limit as early as the end of the 90th hour and would then take a 34-hour restart. The driver could resume duty at the start of the 125th hour.

To view the docket, click here.

Concrete Pavement Haulers

The agency says it will grant two hours of service exemptions for the American Concrete Pavement Association. The first exemption will enable drivers transporting ready-mixed concrete and related materials and equipment in vehicles without rotating mixer drums to use 30 minutes or more of on-duty “waiting time” to satisfy the requirement for the 30-minute rest break, provided they do not perform any other work during the break.

The second exemption will allow these drivers to use the short-haul exception but return to their work-reporting location within14 hours instead of the usual 12 hours.

According to the ACPA’s request, the exemption from the 30-minute rest break would allow drivers to use 30 minutes or more of on-duty “waiting time” to satisfy the requirement for the rest break, provided the driver performs no other work during that period. ACPA says that mainline paving projects such as highways, airports, streets and large industrial facilities typically involve mixing concrete at a central location within 3 to 10 miles from the paving site, and then transporting the material to a jobsite via end-dump trucks.

The group says the time-sensitive nature of the paving process means that issues that could delay drivers can then result in time and cost overruns for the paving projects.

ACPA’s request also notes that ready-mixed concrete delivery vehicles – defined as those which have a mechanism powered by the vehicle’s engine that agitates and mixes the concrete in a mixer drum – have previously been granted an exemption from both the 30-minute rest break and the 12-hour rule.

In January 2018, FMCSA also granted similar exemptions to drivers on behalf of the National Asphalt Pavement Association. ACPA’s request states that “the same reasoning supporting the exemptions” for those other operations applies to its drivers.