Safety & Compliance

FMCSA Stands by Oilfield HOS Guidance, Seeks Comments on Other Exemptions

August 12, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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An hours-of-service guidance for oilfield haulers will remain as it is, although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is open to applications for individual exceptions.

In other HOS news, the agency is looking for comments on exempting munitions and livestock haulers from the 30-minute break requirement.

The agency has been studying possible revisions to the oilfield guidance for the past 18 months and on Monday announced that it will stick with what it has.

Oilfield haulers have two exceptions to the HOS rule.

One grants them a 24-hour restart after 70 hours of work in eight days. This applies to drivers who exclusively haul oil and gas equipment, as well as those who provide direct support to oil and gas well sites, including hauling the water that is used in the fracking process, and hauling waste away from the site.

The other says that specially trained drivers of vehicles spec’d to serve oil wells do not have to include waiting time in their on-duty time.

Drivers who haul supplies, equipment and materials such as sand and water are not eligible for the waiting time exception, even if their trucks have been somewhat modified or if they have extra training.

Trucking interests have objected to this provision but the agency said it will stand.

If a carrier believes this guidance does not provide enough relief, it is welcome to apply for an individual exception, the agency said.

In other HOS news, the agency is soliciting comments on a bid by the Department of Defense for an exemption to the 30-minute break requirement for munitions haulers. These carriers need the same relief that already is granted to explosives carriers, DOD said.

Also, the National Pork Producers Council and other agricultural interests want an exception to the break requirement.

They say that the rule, which requires a driver to take a 30-minute break within eight hours of driving, will cause irreparable harm to them, put their livestock at risk and provide no safety benefit.

For instance, moving livestock such as pigs during summer heat puts the animals at great risk, they said. The mandatory break could force drivers to be off duty when they need to find a shady place to stop, provide water to the animals or complete their delivery.

Comments on these two petitions are due by September 11.

 

 

 

 

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