HOS exemption for some hazmat haulers open for comment

| 4/12/2006

FMCSA is accepting comments on an application for exemption from a requirement in the hours-of-service rules from the Institute of Makers of Explosives.

The obligation of drivers of commercial 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 explosives exist not only for safety but security reasons, according to the Institute.

The conflict between the regs that require some hazmat loads be constantly attended and the hours-of-service regs puts drivers in a position to make a tough decision.

Truckers can’t attend to a load and log it as off-duty time. And, they can’t take the off-duty time and not attend to the load. That leaves them faced with violating one set of regs, just to comply with the other.

The explosives institute has asked FMCSA to allow a member of a driving team who is transporting hazardous materials requiring constant attendance and is using the sleeper berth to be allowed to exit it for brief periods without being considered on-duty.

“To preserve the safety and security protections afforded by the use of team drivers we are requesting an exemption … to allow the off-duty team driver to provide attendance or to participate in security checks or safety inspections for brief periods of 30 minutes or less without triggering a change of duty status and the loss of accumulated sleeper berth time,” the request states.

Where to send comments
The comment deadline is May 10. Comments can be submitted anonymously.

All submissions must include the agency name and docket number, FMCSA-2006-24005. To submit your completed comments, you can:

  • Visit http://dms.dot.gov/submit/dspSubmission.cfm type in docket number and follow instructions for submitting comments online;
  • 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.

By Jami Jones, senior editor