Oversized Cargo Haulers Seek Exemption from 30-Minute Break Rule

By | December 3, 2014

Oversized and overweight cargo haulers that can only operate on roadways at certain times of day are seeking an exemption from a new federal trucking regulation requiring drivers to take a 30-minute rest every eight hours.

Last month, the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) and Georgia-based NationsBuilders Insurance Services Inc., a specialty construction insurer, submitted a request for a limited exemption for carriers and drivers hauling loads that exceed maximum legal weight and dimension.

Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to take a half-hour break during the first eight hours of a shift. This provision went into effect in July 2013. The Hours of Service rule also contains an 11-hour driving limit and a 14-hour day limit.

The specialized carriers say the one-size-fits-all rest break requirement shouldn’t be applicable to them because they are restricted to operating during limited time periods according to required permits. Their limited travel windows can vary by state and jurisdiction.

These specialized carriers and drivers are required to have a permit issued by a government authority whether they travel with or without an escort. The hours that an oversized or overweight load can travel could make it difficult to schedule a required 30-minute rest break, they contend.

According to the submitted request, the regulation could also place other drivers at risk since a truck and its load may be parked for hours or days along highways or by ramps at state lines while waiting for the next jurisdiction’s travel permit.

In addition, they argue that the breaks can cause hardship for truckers trying to find a parking space big enough to accommodate the oversized or overweight load.

NBIS’ Specialized Transportation Risk Management Department co-authored the request to provide the limited exemption.

The FMSCA is accepting public comment until December 24, 2014 prior to its decision.

The trucking industry has been fighting federal regulators over driver fatigue rules since Congress first mandated the regulation in 1999. Last August the regulations to ensure drivers get more rest were mostly upheld by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals in Washington did, however, vacate a 30-minute rest requirement for short-haul truck drivers.

Topics Legislation Trucking

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