The American Trucking Associations has asked that a truck driver’s waiting time at natural gas and oil well loading sites be excluded from hours-of-service duty time calculations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration posted notice of the request Friday in the Federal Register
The HOS rule says that drivers can only work during a 14-hour period after 10 hours of off-duty time. Currently the only drivers that are exempt from the 14-hour provision because of waiting time are “specially trained drivers of commercial motor vehicles that are specially constructed to service oil wells,” according to the posting. The ATA’s request would expand that exemption to include drivers who are “exclusively engaged” in servicing gas sites, but don’t fall under the metric of the FMCSA’s existing exclusion.
The group is requesting a two-year exemption that will be renewed as needed. The FMCSA is inviting comments on the proposal through July 7.
“Generally, a driver may not record time as ‘off duty’ unless he or she has been relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the CMV, its accessories, and its cargo, and is free to pursue activities of his or her own choosing,” the FMCSA explained in the posting. “Thus, drivers who are waiting, whether at a loading dock or at a natural gas or oil well site, are generally considered to be ‘on duty.’”
Officials from the ATA are asking for the exemption if carriers can find “a method to adequately ensure a rest opportunity while waiting” such as on-site resting facilities or the truck’s sleeper berth.
According to the posting, “ATA believes the proposed exemption would encourage these drivers to obtain quality rest at extraction sites and would provide an improved standard for state officials enforcing waiting time requirements.”