Hours of Service of Drivers: Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA); Application for Exemption
Hours of Service of Drivers: Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA); Application for Exemption
T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
June 18, 2015
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 117 (Thursday, June 18, 2015)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15018]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0420]
Hours of Service of Drivers: Specialized Carriers & Rigging
Association (SC&RA); Application for Exemption
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for
SUMMARY: FMCSA announces its decision to grant the Specialized Carriers
& Rigging Association (SC&RA) an exemption from the minimum 30-minute
rest break provision of the Agency's hours-of-service (HOS) regulations
for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The exemption enables all
specialized carriers and drivers responsible for the transportation of
loads that exceed normal weight and dimensional limits--oversize/
overweight (OS/OW) loads--and require a permit issued by a government
authority, to be exempt from the 30-minute rest break provision in 49
CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii). FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and
the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to
the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that
is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved
absent such exemption.
DATES: The exemption is effective June 18, 2015 and expires on June 18,
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Richard Clemente, FMCSA Driver and
Carrier Operations Division; Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle
Safety Standards; Telephone: 202-366-4325. Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.
FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in
the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the
public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted.
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the
The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted,
and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a
level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR
381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application
and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving
the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is
granted. The notice must also specify the effective period of the
exemption (up to 2 years) and explain the terms and conditions of the
exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).
Request for Exemption
The SC&RA is an international trade association of nearly 1,300
member companies from 43 nations. SC&RA members are involved in
specialized transportation, machinery moving and erecting, industrial
maintenance, millwrighting, and crane rigging, operation,
manufacturing, and rental.
SC&RA requests an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision
in 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii). The exemption
would apply industry-wide to all specialized carriers and drivers
responsible for the transportation of loads exceeding standard legal
weight and dimensional limits--oversize/overweight (OS/OW) loads--that
require a permit issued by a government authority. According to SC&RA,
the 30-minute break uniquely affects OS/OW loads and has exacerbated
the number of instances in which drivers have had to park these loads
at roadside, impacting the safety of both the general public and the
driver. The hours of operation in which a driver may move an OS/OW load
on a valid permit vary from State to State, and among local
jurisdictions within a State. Because hours in which an OS/OW load can
travel are restricted by permit requirements, often those hours are in
conflict with the timing of the required 30-minute rest break.
According to SC&RA, as less space is available for parking OS/OW
vehicles, specialized tractor/trailer combinations transporting OS/OW
loads will increasingly be parked alongside interstate or other
highways and ramp shoulders, further compromising safety. An average
OS/OW load may measure approximately 15-16 feet wide and high and in
excess of 100 feet in length. Occasionally, the safest option for
drivers is to park such loads on the shoulders of interstate routes and
other highways, and on ramps leading to and from those highways. This
decision requires the driver to protect and alert the motoring public
by employing traffic control measures such as setting up safety cones.
In some instances, the OS/OW load is so large and/or the shoulder width
is so limited, that the tractor-trailer combination cannot be properly
parked off the roadway and therefore occupies an entire lane of the
SC&RA states that the industry has been diligent in ensuring that
its drivers are safety-compliant by identifying, deploying, analyzing
and monitoring best practices. The effectiveness of the industry's
efforts is substantiated through its safety record. By demand and due
to the type and nature of the size and weight involved, these drivers
tend to be more experienced and skilled than many drivers in the
industry. Safety is achieved through rigorous, mandated training for
all drivers on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis in
conjunction with annual safety checks, and self-imposed random safety
audits. Furthermore, most specialized transportation carriers conduct
weekly--or sometimes more frequent--meetings with drivers to ensure
that they are current on information with regard to operating OS/OW
loads in their industry.
Further details regarding SC&RA's safety controls can be found in
its application for exemption. The application can be accessed in the
docket identified at the beginning of this notice. SC&RA does not
foresee any negative impact to safety from the requested exemption. It
believes that granting the exemption would have a favorable impact on
overall safety by reducing the frequency of drivers resorting to less
than ideal parking options, thereby reducing the frequency of lanes
being partially or fully blocked.
The proposed exemption would be effective for 2 years, the maximum
period allowed by Sec. 381.300.
On November 24, 2014, FMCSA published notice of this application,
and asked for public comment (79 FR 69983); 79 responses were
submitted. Comments in favor of the proposed exemption were submitted
by the California Construction Trucking Association (CCTA); Dawes
Rigging & Crane Rental Inc.; Mammoet USA South Inc.; Miller Transfer;
the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA); Suit-Kote
Corporation; and 42 individuals and truck drivers.
CCTA stated that it ``encourages FMCSA to grant the exemption from
the 30-minute break requirement (49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)) requested by
SC&RA because we believe granting the exemption request will achieve
the same level of safety benefit when compared to those drivers still
mandated to take the break.''
OOIDA concurred ``with the request for exemption of the 30-minute
break requirement submitted by the SCRA. The exemption request, which
addresses a number of concerns raised by OOIDA members with the 2013
changes to the hours-of-service regulations, would provide a level of
safety equal to or greater than that achieved without the exemption.
Oversize/Overweight loads present challenges for the driver and all
other parties involved in the movement of the load.''
Ms. Tiffany Myhre commented that ``I support the exemption filed by
SC&RA regarding the 30 minute break requirement for carriers hauling
oversize/overweight loads under a permit. This break can cause concerns
when we have DPS escorts that are trying to push us through the 30
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the International
Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) were among 26 respondents that did
not explicitly support or oppose the proposed exemption. Many of the
individual respondents commented on the impracticality of the 30-minute
rule and the unintended consequences it entails.
The ATA wrote that ``The safety of the industry and the driving
public is better served by rules that encourage flexibility to drive
when alert and to make decisions to reduce risk. Furthermore, by
crafting and enforcing a rigid rule that doesn't account for diversity
of trucking operations, FMCSA is forced to expend additional valuable
resources to address the myriad of exemption requests seeking the
additional flexibility that should have been addressed during the
A commenter who identified himself as Arthur P. stated that ``Most
routes on 2 lane roads have no parking for trucks let alone a truck
with an OS load. States like Ohio and Pennsylvania will not allow you
off your route for fuel or food let alone a DOT required break. If you
stop before you enter Ohio for your 30 minute break, you might not have
enough time to cross Ohio. Then you will be in violation of Ohio law
because you have nowhere to stop.''
The IUOE recommended that ``the FMCSA undertake a study of the
safety and health benefits of a 30-minute break for operators of
specialized CMVs in the construction industry before making a
determination on the SCRA's request for an exemption.'' IUOE also urged
``the FMCSA to study the extent to which the SCRA's primary
justification for the exemption from the rule--i.e., the alleged
greater danger created by the limited availability of commercial
vehicle parking spaces--is factually accurate for most OS/OW loads for
which a permit is required given the distances typically travelled.
Without this, information, the FMCSA is in no position to evaluate
whether the SCRA has met its burden of proof.''
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) were among
the five respondents who opposed the exemption. The Advocates commented
that ``None of the measures described by SCRA are related in any way to
the need to combat the acute fatigue of working and driving a vehicle
for up to eight hours straight. The FMCSA itself made the case that
safety requires a one-half hour break after eight hours on duty, and
the Application provides no information to either refute or countermand
the need for that break time as it applies to OS/OW operators.''
A commenter identified only as Trish said that ``All drivers are
faced with the
challenge of finding refuge for the required 30 minute break, whether
it's from traffic or fear of life in some instances. Continuing to
grant exemptions defeats the purpose of the rule and is unfair to grant
on the basis of someone's business model. Choosing to haul cattle,
household OR oversize should not exempt carriers from the rules and
regulations enacted to promote safety.''
FMCSA has evaluated SC&RA's application and the public comments and
decided to grant the exemption. The arguments against the exemption are
not trivial. While livestock may be physically endangered if the
vehicle transporting them has to stop while the driver takes a 30-
minute break--as recognized in the exemption granted to livestock
haulers (79FR 33634, June 11, 2014)--the same cannot be said of OS/OW
loads. It is also true that parking shortages affect drivers of many
types of vehicle. Nonetheless, finding suitable parking for trucks with
OS/OW loads is particularly difficult, as SC&RA pointed out, and the
default option is likely to be parking on the shoulder of a highway,
with the load sometimes extending into the lanes of traffic. No matter
how well marked, trucks parked at roadside, especially at night, are
too often mistaken for moving vehicles and struck, frequently with
fatal consequences, before an inattentive driver can correct his
mistake. Based on available information, the number of such crashes
likely to occur during a 30-minute break cannot be estimated, but the
Agency has concluded that drivers of OS/OW vehicles are at least as
likely to be involved in a crash while parked at roadside during a 30-
minute break as while driving during that same period and the hour or
so thereafter, where the break typically has the greatest benefit.
FMCSA has therefore decided to grant the exemption, subject to the
terms and conditions outlined below.
Terms of the Exemption
1. Drivers of specialized loads moving in interstate commerce that
exceed normal weight and dimensional limits--oversize/overweight (OS/
OW) loads--and require a permit issued by a government authority, are
exempt from the requirement for a 30-minute rest break in Sec.
395.3(a)(3)(ii). Drivers of loads not moving in interstate commerce are
not eligible for this exemption.
2. Drivers must have a copy of this exemption document in their
possession while operating under the terms of the exemption. The
exemption document must be presented to law enforcement officials upon
3. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have a
``Satisfactory'' safety rating with FMCSA, or be ``unrated.'' Motor
carriers with ``Conditional'' or ``Unsatisfactory'' FMCSA safety
ratings are prohibited from using this exemption.
4. All motor carriers operating under this exemption must have
Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores below FMCSA's intervention
thresholds, as displayed at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/.
Period of the Exemption
This exemption from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii) is
granted for the period from 12:01 a.m., June 18, 2015 through 11:59
p.m., June 18, 2017.
Extent of the Exemption
This exemption is limited to the provisions of 49 CFR
395.3(a)(3)(ii). These drivers must comply with all other applicable
provisions of the FMCSRs.
In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), during the period this
exemption is in effect, no State shall enforce any law or regulation
that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect
to a firm or person operating under the exemption.
Notification to FMCSA
Any motor carrier utilizing this exemption must notify FMCSA within
5 business days of any accident (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5), involving
any of the motor carrier's CMV drivers operating under the terms of
this exemption. The notification must include the following
a. Name of operating motor carrier and USDOT number,
b. Date of the accident,
c. City or town, and State, in which the accident occurred, or
closest to the accident scene,
d. Driver's name and license number and State of issuance,
e. Vehicle number and State license plate number,
f. Number of individuals suffering physical injury,
g. Number of fatalities,
h. The police-reported cause of the accident,
i. Whether the driver was cited for violation of any traffic laws
or motor carrier safety regulations, and
j. The driver's total driving time and total on-duty time period
prior to the accident.
Reports filed under this provision shall be emailed to
FMCSA believes carriers transporting OS/OW loads under permit will
continue to maintain their previous safety record while operating under
this exemption. However, should problems occur, FMCSA will take all
steps necessary to protect the public interest, including revocation or
restriction of the exemption. The FMCSA will immediately revoke or
restrict the exemption for failure to comply with its terms and
Issued on: June 8, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
[FR Doc. 2015-15018 Filed 6-17-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
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