SPECIAL REPORT: HOS exemptions available for some drivers

| 8/17/2005

The movie industry and the agricultural industry are just two areas that will benefit from hours-of-service exemptions that made it into the Highway Bill, which was signed into law on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

The exemptions apply to short-haul truckers, such as those who haul produce from the field to the packing houses or those who haul supplies to and from movie sets. The propane industry and utility companies are also included in the exemptions.

For short-haul agricultural trucks, the bill states that the HOS rules "shall not apply during planting and harvest periods, as determined by each state, to drivers transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies for agricultural purposes ..."

In addition, operators of utility service vehicles are exempt from the rules and states are prohibited from making their own HOS rules apply to utility vehicles.

For the propane industry, the exemption is limited to winter months and pipeline emergencies, but other utilities are exempt year round.

For movie companies, drivers hauling to movie sites on routes less than 100 miles are required to rest for only eight hours daily instead of the standard required 10.

Bloomberg reported that critics of these exemptions argue that it will make enforcement more difficult, as officers will have a difficult time assessing which drivers are exempt and which are not.

- By Terry Scruton, senior writer