FMCSA allots 30-day period for public comment on 30-min break rule

By John Skelly25 November 2014

In early October the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) in conjunction with NationsBuilders Insurance Services (NBIS) sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asking for an exemption to the 30-minute rest break requirement to the Final Rule on Hours of Service of Drivers. The SC&RA is an international trade association of almost 1,300 member companies.

Their request was to make the exemption applicable to drivers hauling loads that “exceed maximum legal weight and dimension which require a permit be issued by a government authority,” according to the letter.

The SC&RA cites a multitude of permit regulations from states, cities and counties (all with different expiration dates) makes it difficult for a driver with an oversize or overweight load to expeditiously get where they need to go. Adding a mandatory 30-minute break just further complicates the situation.

Last week the FMCSA responded to the SC&RA’s letter by implementing a 30-day grace period for public comment, ending Dec. 24, 2014.

“A 30 day public filing period commenced November 22 when the Federal Register officially published SC&RA’s filed exemption with the FMCSA regarding the 30 minute rest break requirement (Hours of Service Rule : 49 C.F.R. for carriers hauling oversize/overweight (OS/OW) loads under a permit,” said Steven Todd, vice president, SC&RA. “Because the hours in which an OS/OW load can travel are restricted by permit requirements, often times those hours will be in conflict with the timing of a required 30-minute rest break.  The frequency with which specialized carriers and drivers have been forced to seek less than ideal roadway/shoulder parking has increased dramatically since the July 1, 2013 Hours of Service rules became effective.”

Todd thanked Bob Moore, chief legal officer, NBIS for their assistance in filing the exemption request. To read the request in its entirety, visit the NBIS website.

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