The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has granted an hours-of-service exemption to certain haulers.
The agency announced that drivers of tankers carrying petroleum-based fuels under the 100 air-mile short-haul exception will be exempt from the 30-minute break requirement if they have to work for more than 12 hours.
The exemption took effect on Monday, April 9, after its publication in the Federal Register.
The exception covers drivers transporting diesel fuel, gasoline, aviation fuel, ethanol, and other petroleum-based fuels, and it will be valid for five years.
According to the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), about 38,000 trucks that operate under the short-haul exemption daily qualify for the 30-minute break exemption.
The NTTC sought the exemption in September last year.
The exemption would allow drivers hauling petroleum-based fuels to use 30 minutes attending the load to satisfy the 30-minute break requirement.
The group said many of the gas haulers that perform such duties qualify for the 100 air-mile radius short-haul exemption, but there are “rare occasions” when a driver doesn’t qualify for the exception when they go beyond the daily 12-hour on-duty limit.
NTTC added that when fuel tanker drivers exceed the 12-hour limit and take their 30-minute break, they are still required to attend the load because it is hazmat, and drivers cannot be considered off-duty for those 30 minutes.
Therefore, the NTTC requested the FMCSA to exclude the drivers from the 30-minute break requirement, as long as those 30 minutes are spent attending the load.
Also, the NTTC says that most stops that the drivers make to deliver fuel take more than 30 minutes, and the driver is only attending the load during those stops.
The FMCSA told that fuel tanker drivers take several breaks throughout the day when unloading at service stations. Those breaks essentially meet the 30-minute break requirement.
But the FMCSA said that drivers operating under the exemption must still complete their workday within the 14-hour on-duty window and maintain a log of the days when they don’t meet the short-haul exemption.
Further reading: How does KeepTruckin help short-haul drivers?