FMCSA renews exemption for U.S. Custom Harvesters

June 17, 2024

Mark Schremmer


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has renewed an exemption request for U.S. Custom Harvesters.

The notice of renewal is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, June 18.

In October, FMCSA announced that it granted U.S. Custom Harvesters a two-year provisional exemption that allows drivers under the age of 21 to work in multiple states. Current regulations require interstate CDL holders to be at least 21, while 18 is the minimum age for intrastate drivers. Intrastate-only drivers have a “K” restriction marked on their CDLs.

The forthcoming notice finalizes FMCSA’s decision and means that the exemption runs through Oct. 3, 2025.

“The agency believes that drivers who qualify for the exemption will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be achieved by complying with the ‘K’ restriction,” FMCSA wrote in the notice.

FMCSA already provides an exception to the minimum age requirements for interstate custom harvester drivers, who travel from state to state helping farmers cut crops. However, states may include an intrastate-only restriction on the license. The exemption grants relief from this restriction.

U.S. Custom Harvesters previously received a five-year exemption from October 2018 until October 2023. However, FMCSA decided to give only a two-year provisional review in 2023 after it learned that some crashes involving exempted drivers weren’t reported.

FMCSA said it obtained 14 police crash reports involving under-21 custom harvester drivers in the past five years. Considering the length of time and the lack of comparable data, the agency concluded that there is “insufficient information” to suggest that the exemption has hindered safety.

Under the terms of the exemption, U.S. Custom Harvesters must notify the agency within five days of any crash involving a driver operating under the exemption. LL