The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wasted no time in announcing that any short-haul driver would be exempt from the 30-minute rest break provision in the new hours-of-service (HOS) rules. FMCSA officials said the change was effective as of August 2.
This should be good news for the many tank truck fleets handling local distribution of refined fuels and other liquid and dry bulk cargoes. Many of these fleets will fall well within the exemption and will be able to avoid the mandatory rest break.
“In its first step to implement the court’s recent hours of service ruling, Administrator (Anne) Ferro and FMCSA have taken a reasonable enforcement approach concerning the rest break provision for both types of shorthaul drivers as the Agency drafts a revised rule to comply with the court,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says. “We’re pleased that FMCSA is moving forward to provide swift, reasonable relief to drivers who operate locally.”
In its August 2 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the 30-minute break requirement for short-haul drivers, but only referred in its opinion to non-commercial driver license holders who operate within 150-mile radius of their reporting location. Administrator Ferro clarified that FMCSA was applying this ruling to those drivers, as well as CDL holders who operate within 100 miles of their reporting location.
Under the ruling, drivers who use the 100-mile exemption, but also keep logs as part of company policy or other reasons, are not required to take the mandatory break when operating under the 100-mile exemption, as the log is not being kept for compliance reasons. However, if a driver using the 100-mile exemption is required to go outside of that area, he must keep a log for the day and must take the mandatory break.
“While the court left much of the new hours-of-service rules unchanged, FMCSA’s clarification on this provision provides important flexibility for short-haul drivers and the fleets that employ them,” Graves says.