NTTC Suggests Changes in HOS Proposal
Dec 1, 2000 12:00 PM, MODERN BULK TRANSPORTER STAFF
The National Tank Truck Carriers Inc (NTTC) has asked the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to consider six changes to its proposed hours-of-service regulations.
First, the association seeks to have FMCSA preserve current regulations "as an option" for those carriers, such as petroleum carriers, involved in local operations. NTTC said that the DOT's own research demonstrates that such drivers work regular shifts, are at home daily, and have the flexibility to construct work/rest cycles that accommodate their lifestyles.
Next, NTTC said DOT should include a flexible "restart" provision in the final regulation. Such a provision would permit one restart in a two-consecutive-week period where the driver has worked less than 36 hours on duty and has been off-duty for 24 consecutive hours or more. This provision, if adopted, would provide relief for drivers whose workweek is disrupted by weather or other service interruptions.
Another NTTC request is that on-duty drivers, faced with lengthy periods where they are relieved from responsibility for the vehicle (and perform no physical activity), be permitted to recoup some of that time by logging off-duty. This is to accommodate drivers who cede control of their vehicle to shippers and consignees, then wait for extended periods while loading and unloading are completed.
The association joined other parties in the docket in asking DOT to remove the matter of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) from the rulemaking. "The record in the docket, so far, demonstrates that there is no standalone device, available for purchase or installation today, that meets all of the EOBR criteria proposed by the Administrator," the NTTC said.
DOT-proposed prohibitions against carriers contacting drivers during their off-duty periods also drew NTTC comment. Suggesting that employer/driver contacts be prohibited only between the hours of midnight to 6 am (for day-shift drivers), the association said, "It is reasonable to assume that drivers and their families want to know all the details about their work schedules and want that information with as much lead time as possible. This is patently obvious with respect to professionals in any endeavor."
Lastly, NTTC urged DOT to "retain maximum flexibility for sleeper operations. The association suggests that the final rules permit drivers of vehicles equipped with sleeping accommodations to divide their `on-duty' time into work/rest periods that the driver determines appropriate."
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