Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

Specialized carriers that haul oversized or overweight loads are asking for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break provision of the hours of service rules.

The Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for relief from the provision, which says drivers must take a half-hour break in an 8-hour shift.

The group said that compliance is difficult due to the limited periods in which its members are permitted to operate.

These carriers typically must get a special permit to move their loads and the permit often limits the duration or time of day or night of the movement.

Plus, permit practices vary greatly from state to state, and even from local jurisdictions within a state, SCRA told the agency.

The exemption would apply only to carriers that have such a permit.

The group said that often the permitted hours will be in conflict with the timing of the 30-minute rest break.

Drivers of these loads, which on average are up to 16 feet wide and more than 100 feet long, have a hard time finding a parking space to take a break, the group said.

The group also said that the exemption would improve safety by giving drivers a chance to park where their loads will not interfere with traffic.

The agency is publishing a notice and request for comments in Monday’s Federal Register.