Hours of service

FMCSA grants hours-of-service exemption to hazmat drivers

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Photo: welcomia/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted an hours-of-service exemption to truck drivers who transport hazardous materials.

FMCSA’s decision follows a request from the Arlington, VA-based American Trucking Associations, which argued on behalf of hazardous materials truck drivers. ATA said drivers were required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to stay with cargo while stopped, which directly interfered with the drivers’ ability to obey FMCSA’s off-duty rest break requirement.

The exemption allows drivers to count up to 30 minutes of “attendance” time toward a rest break, so long as they are not performing other on-duty activities. FMCSA said the exemption will last for two years, and it warned against drivers claiming the exemption when not entitled to it.

ATA thanked FMCSA for granting the HOS request. The absence of an FMCSA exemption created “very real security risks” that now have been addressed, ATA said in a statement.

“FMCSA’s exemption request is a sensible way to ensure that drivers can adhere to both agencies’ requirements,” ATA said. “With the exemption, a driver can take his or her mandated rest break while retaining the option to provide the security these shipments deserve without violating the hours of service.”