Post office requests HOS exemption for contract carriers

| 12/7/2005

The U.S. Postal Service is asking FMCSA to turn back the clock and allow truckers contracted to haul mail interstate work under an older version of the hours of service.

In light of the request, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration opened a notice of application and request for comments.

The Postal Service requests that some of its contract motor carriers be allowed to operate under the HOS rules in effect before Jan. 4, 2004. According to the Federal Register filing by FMCSA, the Postal Service believes the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved under the HOS rules implemented after Jan. 4, 2004.

Transportation performed by federal, state or local government is exempt from requirements under 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, including all HOS, according to the Federal Register. And because the Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch of the U.S. government, transportation performed by USPS qualifies for the exemption, the filing states.

Nonetheless, any motor carrier contracted by USPS to transport its mail interstate – but retains full responsibility for its trucks, making it so the transportation is not considered to be performed by the Postal Service – remains subject to 49 CFR parts 300–399, including the HOS rules.

The petition requests the exemption from the current HOS regs, allowing some of these motor carriers and drivers to operate under those HOS rules in effect before Jan. 4, 2004.

USPS requests the exemption apply to an unspecified number of motor carriers operating under approximately 5,100 separate contracts.The HOS limits requested under the exemption for such drivers would be the same as current HOS limits for drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles.

Comments on the Postal Service’s request for exemption will be accepted through Dec. 16.

All comments should indicate FMCSA-2005-22660. To submit your comments – and the comments can be submitted anonymously – you can:

  • Fax them to: (202) 493-2251; or
  • Mail to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St. SW , Nassif Building Room PL-401, Washington , DC 20590-0001